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Appendix B




The Root of Terrorisma la Islamic styleby: Abul Kasem, Email:


First published Aug 2004 at:






The world is fast becoming accustomed to the term ‘Islamic Terror.’ It is a new genre of global terrorism. Thanks to the Jihadists, Suicide Bombers, Hamas, Hezbollah, Al-Qaeda, Lashkar-e-Taiba, Jaishe Muhammad, Islamists, Mullahs, Maulanas, Pirs, Hijabi Women, and others, Islam dominates virtually every News Media of every continent today. Sooner or later, the term ‘Islamic Terror’ may find a place in the English lexicon. With such a plethora of Islamic awareness, the question is: Is Terror a la Islamic fashion something new, or is it the ongoing product of early Jihadists’ zeal as taught and practiced by Muhammad? Ask any Islamist/Islamic apologist this question and the pithy answer will most likely be something like: Islam is peaceful, it never advocates violence, the least of all, ‘Terrorism’ using Islam; Osama bin Ladin and his Jihadists who have hijacked Islam are not true Muslims, the suicide bombers do not represent the true teachings of Islam…..and so on and so forth.




In this detailed article, by exposing the ‘true’ nature of what Islam is all about, I would like to demolish the above paradigm of the Islamists. Since Islam is firmly rooted in the past, in order to find the root cause/s of the present ‘mayhem’ by the Islamic fighters, we must analyze the past deeds, actions, philosophical and theological attitudes of the early Jihadists under the leadership of none other than Muhammad, the Messenger of Allah. As we proceed, we must first of all realize that there is no such thing as ‘moderate Islam’, ’current Islam’, or the ‘future Islam.’ It is past actions of Muhammad performed millennium ago that propelled all Muslims of yesterday, which haunts and impels all Muslims today, and which will continue inspiring Muslims tomorrow. We must look back, and not forward, to find out the truth about Islam. Just as a tree sustains its life and continues its growth because of its roots that are firmly anchored underground-beyond the ocular visibility, so is Islam. Terrorism is firmly rooted in the very ‘lofty’ doctrine of an Islamic world envisioned by Muhammad. Today’s use of terror tactics is nothing new in Islam; it was the lifeblood through which Muhammad forced his concept of a uni-polar world, devoted only to one Semitic God, Allah. In this lengthy treatise, I have chronicled all documented events of terror, murder, deceit, lies, intrigue and warfare that is used to nurture, advance and propagate the very essence of Islam: which is to accept Islam, pay protection money (Jizya) or die. Many readers will be shocked and surprised at the contents of this dissertation and will shake their heads in utter disbelief. Most Muslims will be agitated, angry, frustrated and will surely go into the typical complete denial mode. To all these readers I would like to say that I, too, went through the same phase. As I took Islam very seriously during my formative years, I eventually started to understand fully its doctrine and its life force, and found I could not believe that a man who claimed to be the messenger of Allah could ever indulge himself, as well as instruct his followers in mindless murder, loot, plunder, torture and unbound lasciviousness. As you read episode after episode of the early terrorism of Islam, you will find eerie similarities with the modern day global terrorism as perpetrated by the Jihadists of today. You will, for sure, discover that all the ingredients of terrorist operations are present, as they were millennium ago; it is, as if, to use the infidel language, the ‘reincarnation’ (or resurrection) of the past Islamic terrorists. These ingredients are/were:

  • Persecution and the killing of the unbelievers
  • Plunder and ethnic cleansing
  • Political assassination and revenge killing
  • Gratuitous murder and unabated genocide
  • Property grab and extreme lasciviousness
  • Forced conversion/Jizya
  • Sectarian persecution (destruction of mosques)




Let us now delve into early Islamic history and find out how and why the early Jiahadists did what they did.




‘They say we are terrorists? They are right—of course we are. That is what we do for a living’—Khalid Shaikh Muhammad[1]



Section One






The seed of terror a la Islamic fashion was planted when Muhammad concluded an elaborate treaty with seventy five (seventy-three men and two women) Ansars (Medina residents) that is commonly called the second pledge of Aqaba, Aqaba being a small hilly hamlet (or a cave) in the outskirts of Mecca. This pact was done in secrecy to protect the life of Muhammad when he desired to migrate to Medina.  During the negotiation process, Muhammad asked for the solemn pledge of the Ansars to protect his life the way the Ansars would protect their women and children. When the Ansars pledged their complete fealty to Muhammad, to the extent of sacrificing their own lives for his security, he promised blood to the Meccans and paradise to the Ansars.  As per Ibn Ishak[2], Muhammad said to the Ansars: “Nay, blood is blood and blood not to be paid for is blood not to be paid for. I am of you and you are of me. I will war against them that war against you and be at peace with those at peace with you.” Tabari[3]  writes that during the oath of Aqaba al-Abbas and Ubadah b. Nadlah said that pledging allegiance to Muhammad was declaring war against the world. Soon after the second pledge of Aqaba, Allah approved this declaration of war against all infidels, first in verses 22:40-42 and then in verse 2:198.




And true to his promise, Muhammad’s days of blood and terror started soon after he left Mecca, and with a handful of his followers, arrived at Medina.  Except for a few, those followers were desperately poor illiterate hoodlums and troublemakers with no saleable skill or means to support themselves through gainful employment. Many of his companions lived in utter unhygienic conditions, so much so that lice grew on their heads and they developed terrible body odour. Here is a Hadith from Sunaan Abu Dawud about the unbearable body stench of Muhammad’s early converts:




Book 32, Number 4022: Narrated AbuMusa al-Ash'ari:




Abu Burdah said: My father said to me: My son, if you had seen us while we were with the Apostle of Allah (peace_be_upon_him) and the rain had fallen on us, you would have thought that our smell was the smell of the sheep.




Even Muhammad, the Messenger of Allah developed lice on his head! Unbelievable, isn’t it? Read this Sahih Hadith from Sahih Bukhari:




Volume 4, Book 52, Number 47: Narrated Anas bin Malik:


Allah's Apostle used to visit Um Haram bint Milhan, who would offer him meals. Um-Haram was the wife of Ubada bin As-Samit. Allah's Apostle, once visited her and she provided him with food and started looking for lice in his head. Then Allah's Apostle slept, and afterwards woke up smiling. Um Haram asked, "What causes you to smile, O Allah's Apostle?" He said. "Some of my followers who (in a dream) were presented before me as fighters in Allah's Cause (on board a ship) amidst this sea cause me to smile; they were as kings on the thrones (or like kings on the thrones)." (Ishaq, a sub-narrator is not sure as to which expression the Prophet used.) Um-Haram said, "O Allah's Apostle! Invoke Allah that he makes me one of them. Allah's Apostle invoked Allah for her and slept again and woke up smiling. Once again Um Haram asked, "What makes you smile, O Allah's Apostle?" He replied, "Some of my followers were presented to me as fighters in Allah's Cause," repeating the same dream. Um-Haram said, "O Allah's Apostle! Invoke Allah that He makes me one of them." He said, "You are amongst the first ones." It happened that she sailed on the sea during the Caliphate of Mu'awlya bin Abi Sufyan, and after she disembarked, she fell down from her riding animal and died.


Two important aspects of Muhammad’s life are clear in the above Hadith: firstly, he lived in unhygienic condition, took infrequent bath, so much so that lice found a fertile breeding spot on his head; secondly, he used to be intimate with other person’s wife (or wives?). How is it possible for a woman to touch a man’s head and look for lice unless she is quite warm and friendly to him? As per Islamic rule even looking at any un-related woman is totally Haram, forget about being touched by her. I would let the readers ponder on the moral rectitude of the messenger of Allah vis-a-vis married women from this Hadith and judge what sort of respect he had on the very Islamic Laws on morality that he himself had introduced.




Now, back to Muhammad’s companions. Yes, almost all of Muhammad’s companions used to smell like sheep! Muhammad took them to Medina in search of useful employment for them; but no one wanted those doleful, indigent, stinky Jihadist clods to be on his/her payroll. Except for a few, even the regular job of daily labourer was out for them. Some of them would work as manual labourers and/or ‘coolies’ for a very brief period and then become unemployed once again. The extent of poverty among these early ‘birds’ of Islam has been summed up in this Hadith of Sahi Bukhari by Aisha, Muhammad’s favourite wife:




Volume 2, Book 24, Number 499: Narrated Aisha:




A lady along with her two daughters came to me asking (for some alms), but she found nothing with me except one date which I gave to her and she divided it between her two daughters, and did not eat anything herself, and then she got up and went away. Then the Prophet came in and I informed him about this story. He said, "Whoever is put to trial by these daughters and he treats them generously (with benevolence) then these daughters will act as a shield for him from Hell-Fire." (See Hadith No. 24, Vol. 8).




The greatest surprise is that those indigent, dirt poor Muslims later became very rich indeed. Here is a Hadith from Sahih Bukhari about their transformation from poverty to wealth:




Volume 2, Book 24, Number 497: Narrated Abu Masud Al-Ansar:


 Whenever Allah's Apostle (p.b.u.h) ordered us to give in charity, we used to go to the market and work as porters and get a Mudd (a special measure of grain) and then give it in charity. (Those were the days of poverty) and today some of us have one hundred thousand.


How did Muhammad do such a miracle? Was this transformation from dire poverty to wealth achieved through Islamic piety, spirituality, prayer, fasting and the blessings of Allah?  Or was this through ‘terrorism?’  To find the answer please read on.




When the life of the largely unemployed and underemployed Muhajirs (refugees) became intolerable in Medina, Muhammad had to do something for their survival, and he had to do this rather quickly before they became disillusioned with his promise of the great treasures of Khusroo (the Persian Emperor) and the Byzantine King. Rodinson[4] writes that these early Muslims had no regular sources of income and the only method of survival for them was plundering when all else had failed.




That, the major means of livelihood for the Muslims in Medina was from the proceeds of plunder and the forced Jizya tax on non-Muslims, can be confirmed from the following Hadith in Sahih Bukhari:




Volume 4, Book 53, Number 388: Narrated Juwairiya bin Qudama At-Tamimi:




We said to 'Umar bin Al-Khattab, O Chief of the believers! Advise us." He said, "I advise you to fulfill Allah's Convention (made with the Dhimmis) as it is the convention of your Prophet and the source of the livelihood of your dependents (i.e. the taxes from the Dhimmis.)."




[Please note that this Hadith has been removed by the compiler from the summarised Translated (by Dr. Muhammad Muhsin Khan) version of Sahih Al-Bukhari. However this Hadith is available in the Internet version of Translation of Sahih Al-Bukhari]




How did Muhammad earn his living in Medina? What job did he do? In what occupation was he employed? What business was he involved in? All these questions remain unanswered. Except for the following Hadith from Sahih Bukhari, all the Sunna, the Sahih Ahadith, the Sirah (biography) never mention of any form of acceptable and/or dignified profession/occupation that Muhammad engaged in to support himself and his retinue of ever increasing number of wives and concubines: Here is that incredible Hadith:








Narrated Ibn 'Umar that the Prophet (SA) said, "My livelihood is under the shade of my spear,(1) and he who disobeys my orders will be humiliated by paying Jizya"




Footnote: (1) "Under the shade of my spear" means "from war booty".




That’s right, Muhammad, the messenger of Allah earned his livelihood by plunder; the above Hadith is very clear on this. Please note that this Hadith has been carefully removed from the Internet version of Sahih Bukhari. This hard to believe Hadith can only be found in the original print version of the Translation of Sahi Bukhari by Dr. Muhammad Muhsin Khan. [Ref: The Translation of the Meanings of Sahih Al-Bukhari, Arabic-English, Vol.IV (page 104) by Dr. Muhammad Muhsin Khan, Islamic University—Al-Medina Al-Munauwara] Please consult the reference provided if you have doubt. It is also interesting to note that in the footnote the translator explains the meaning of ‘spear’ as ‘booty’; clever indeed.




If you thought that this is too much-- that a messenger of Allah, the best of Allah’s creation could never ever resort to sword (read terrorism) to earn a living, then there is even more surprise awaiting for you. Here is a Hadith from Sahih Muslim that writes clearly, without ambiguity, that Muhammad and his followers did just that—resort to terrorism (please note that the comment inside the parenthesis is by the translator):


Book 004, Number 1066:


Abu Huraira reported: The Messenger of Allah (may peace be upon him) said: I have been helped by terror (in the heart of the enemy); I have been given words which are concise but comprehensive in meaning; and while I was asleep I was brought the keys of the treasures of the earth which were placed in my hand.


If those impeccable Ahadith are not convincing enough to attest that Muhammad resorted to terrorism to enrich his followers, here is another Sahih Hadith from Sahih Bukhari:


Volume 4, Book 52, Number 220:




Narrated Abu Huraira:




Allah's Apostle said, "I have been sent with the shortest expressions bearing the widest meanings, and I have been made victorious with terror (cast in the hearts of the enemy), and while I was sleeping, the keys of the treasures of the world were brought to me and put in my hand." Abu Huraira added: Allah's Apostle has left the world and now you, people, are bringing out those treasures (i.e. the Prophet did not benefit by them).




To put his words into action, Muhammad even declared that booty or plunder (read theft and armed robbery) was lawful for him, as confirmed from this Sahih Hadith from Sahih Bukhari:




Volume 4, Book 53, Number 351:




Narrated Jabir bin Abdullah:




Allah's Apostle said, "Booty has been made legal for me."




The following Hadith tells us that Muhammad built mosques using the proceeds of robbery, pillage and the revenue from forced Jizya on non-Muslims. Read this Hadith carefully and you will surely comprehend why many people flocked to Muhammad and his Islam—yes, it was pure greed and lust for money and wealth; Muhammad broke all laws and rules of an established contemporary civilised society just to satisfy this greed of his followers. Here is the appropriate Hadith from Sahih Bukhari:




Volume 4, Book 53, Number 390:




Narrated Jabir bin 'Abdullah:




Allah's Apostle once said to me, "If the revenue of Bahrain came, I would give you this much and this much." When Allah's Apostle had died, the revenue of Bahrain came, and Abu Bakr announced, " Let whoever was promised something by Allah's Apostle come to me." So, I went to Abu Bakr and said, "Allah's Apostle said to me, 'If the revenue of Bahrain came, I would give you this much and this. much." On that Abu Bakr said to me, "Scoop (money) with both your hands." I scooped money with both my hands and Abu Bakr asked me to count it. I counted it and it was five-hundred (gold pieces). The total amount he gave me was one thousand and five hundred (gold pieces.)




Narrated Anas: Money from Bahrain was brought to the Prophet . He said, "Spread it in the Mosque." It was the biggest amount that had ever been brought to Allah's Apostle . In the meantime Al-'Abbas came to him and said, "O Allah's Apostle! Give me, for I gave the ransom of myself and Aqil." The Prophet said (to him), "Take." He scooped money with both hands and poured it in his garment and tried to lift it, but he could not and appealed to the Prophet, "Will you order someone to help me in lifting it?" The Prophet said, "No." Then Al-'Abbas said, "Then will you yourself help me carry it?" The Prophet said, "No." Then Al 'Abbas threw away some of the money, but even then he was not able to lift it, and so he gain requested the Prophet "Will you order someone to help me carry it?" The Prophet said, "No." Then Al-'Abbas said, "Then will you yourself yelp me carry it?" The Prophet said, 'No." So, Al-'Abbas threw away some more money and lifted it on his shoulder and went away. The Prophet kept on looking at him with astonishment at his greediness till he went out of our sight. Allah's Apostle did not get up from there till not a single Dirham remained from that money.




Let us now make out how the early Muslim Jihadists chose their victims of terror.




Looking around for prey, Muhammad found that there were only two choices for him; rob the Medina residents, or resort to armed highway robbery for the booty of rich Meccan caravans plying the Mecca-Medina route. He could not rob his Medina companions (Ansars) as that would tantamount to his immediate destruction.  So, the only other choices left were the Jews, and his nemesis, the Meccan Quraysh, who had largely rejected his call for his brand of religion. As for the Jews, he could not agitate them so soon, as he had already entered into a covenant with them. He had no legitimate reason to attack and appropriate their land and goods. Please note that, in all the first few raids, Muhammad did not want any Ansar to take part in it. It was, because he did not want to upset the Medinites by displaying his transformation to a true brigand. He was also fearful that if his plundering raids were not successful (i.e. unprofitable) then the Ansars would lose their awe and respect for him. That was why, he, at first, did not invite any Ansar to take part in his first few terror raids. He needed to demonstrate to his host country that terrorism was/is profitable indeed!




With the notion of plundering the Jews out, the only choice he was now left with was to attack and loot the Quraysh caravan. Nonetheless, with such a feeble force at his disposal at that time, he would never be able to launch a decisive strike on the mighty Quraysh army--he thought correctly. After all, in the first place, this fear of military might of the Quraysh, was the main reason for his exile from Mecca.




He contrived a brilliant idea. The plan was to lay siege on the Quraysh when they were the most vulnerable; that is, when they (the Quraysh) were either alone, with very few comrades, or were far away from their formidable sanctuary at Mecca. That meant, raiding the Quraysh merchant caravans, terrorising them and robbing them either on their way to trade with Syria or on their return journey to Mecca. But Muhammad was clever too; he was not hasty; he was patient in seizing the appropriate opportunity to attack the vulnerable Quraysh caravans. The plan was very smart and lucrative, no doubt, because with this assault, he could inspire his Jihadist followers to take revenge on their ‘tormentors,’ while, at the same time, they could also plunder a great booty that Muhammad could never offer to these destitute and famished Muhajirs.




With this design in mind, Muhammad was set to move. He engaged a few spies to supply him with the intelligence of the movement of Meccan caravans. However, the Quraysh caravans were always well protected with armed security guards, just to prevent it from the plunder of highway bandits. Still then, Muhammad wanted to try his luck, as those Meccan caravans were such richly laden with exquisite goods—no Jihadist could resist. Apologist biographer, like Hussein Haykal[5]  of course tries to conceal the truth by mentioning that the Muhajirs from Mecca were homesick and were looking for an opportunity to take revenge. While it is natural to feel a little ‘homesickness,’ the overwhelming reason for attacking the Quraysh caravan was plundering and booty—plain and simple. This premise bourns out from the fact that later, when Muhammad conquered Mecca, none of those ‘homesick’ Muhajirs decided to return to their former abode!




Let us now briefly review the first few of such many surprise/terror raids on the Quraysh caravan. There is a controversy as to which was the first raid on the Quraysh caravan by Muhammad. Ibn Ishak writes that Muhammad himself conducted the first raid, and it was the raid on a caravan at Waddan. Ibn Ishak’s book is scanty in giving a reasonable dating of these operations. Waqidi writes that the first raid was the raid conducted by Hamzah. Most other biographers are quite agreeable with Waqidi’s version of the dating of Muhammad’s raids. I have tried to use the same approach.


Note: The dates are approximate and are guides only.



Terror One




The Raid on Quraysh Caravan at al-Is, or the Expedition of Sif al-Bahr by Hamzah ibn al-Muttalib--March, 623CE




The first raid/expedition against the Quraysh caravans took place seven or nine months after the Hijrah. Led by Hamzah ibn ‘Abd al-Muttalib (Muhammad’s uncle), with thirty or forty men of the emigrants; the purpose of this raid, as stated earlier, was to plunder the Quraysh caravan. This raiding party of Hamzah assembled at the seacoast near al-Is, between Mecca and Medina, where Abu Jahl ibn Hashim, the leader of the caravan was camping with three hundred Meccan riders. Hamza met Abu Jahl there with a view to attack the caravan, but Majdi b. Amr al-Juhani, a Quraysh who was friendly to both the parties intervened between them; so, both parties separated without fighting.




This very first adventure of Muhammad in war and plunder was not a success. Hamza returned to Medina and Abu Jahl proceeded towards Mecca. This raid failed as the Muslims were afraid to face such a formidable convoy of the Quraysh; they returned to Medina empty-handed.




Terror Two




Raid on Meccan Caravan at Buwat by Ubaydah b. al-Harith---April, 623CE




This raid took place nine months after the Hijrah, a few weeks after the first terror at al-Is.




About a month after Hamzah’s abortive bid for plunder, Muhammad entrusted   a party of sixty (or eighty) Jihadists led by Ubaydah b. al-Harith (a cousin of him) to conduct another terror operation at a Qurayshcaravan that was returning from Syria and protected by two hundred armed men,. The leader of this caravan was either Abu Sufyan ibn Harb or Ikrima b. Abu Jahl. The Muslim party went as far as Thanyatul-Murra, a watering place in Hejaz. No fighting took place, as the Quraysh were quite far from the place where Muslims were in the offing to attack the caravan. Nevertheless, Sa’d b. Abi Waqqas, an ardent Jihadist, shot an arrow at the Quraysh. This was the ‘first arrow of Islam.’  The arrows thrown at them by the Medina party surprised the Quraysh. It was completely an unprovoked attack on the Quraysh that sent the strong message to them about what they could expect next. However, no fighting took place and the Muslims returned empty-handed. Some say that Ubaydah was the first Jihadist to carry the banner of Islam; others say Hamzah (see Terror 1) was the first to carry the first banner.




Some say that Muhammad commanded Ubaydah to conduct this raid while he (Muhammad) was returning from the raid of al-Abwa (see Terror 4).




Terror Three




Raid on a Meccan Caravan at Kharar by Sa’d ibn Waqqas—April, 623CE




The very brave act of Sa’d ibn Waqqas, to shoot arrows at the Quraysh (see Terror 2), must have greatly impressed Muhammad. During this time, Sa’d had been between twenty to twenty-five years old. However, his young age did not deter him from being appointed by Muhammad as the leader of a plundering team to lay a siege, with only twenty other Jihadissts (some say only eight), on the Meccan caravan. All of them were from the Muahjirs (immigrants). So, one month later, the third terrorist operation took place under the leadership of a youthful Sa’d and his gang. Sa’d, with his minions of committed Jihadists set up an ambush in the valley of Kharrar on the road to Mecca and waited to raid a returning Meccan caravan from Syria.




They planned a surprise attack. Nonetheless, to their utter frustration, they learnt that the ‘booty’ (the Meccan caravan) had already eluded them, just one day before they arrived at the place of plunder. The Muslims returned to Medina crestfallen.



Section Two




‘If terrorism is to throw terror into the heart of your enemy and the enemy of Allah then we thank Him, the most merciful, the most compassionate, for enabling us to be terrorists’—Ramzi BinalShibh[6]




Terror Four




Raid on a Meccan Caravan and on B. Damrah at  al-Abwa/ Waddan by Muhammad—August, 623CE




Muhammad became quite frustrated with the dismal failures of the previous three attempts to plunder the vulnerable Quraysh merchant caravans. Time was of essence, and he felt the pressure of producing results (read profit) to please his believers. With this urgency in mind, he personally, took charge of this raiding foray and led his followers, to his very personal first step in the act of bloodshed and pillage. This was the raid at al-Abwa, also known as the Ghazwah of Waddan. As said before, he himself conducted this raid, directed at Abwa, the spot where his mother lay buried. To his dismay, when he arrived at the site, the Quraysh caravan had already passed. Disappointed, he then raided the nearest tribe of B. Damra (a branch of B. Bakr) and forced them to conclude a treaty of no aggression (by B. Damra). This treaty was the first written accord of Muhammad with any foreign tribe. The agreement was of benefit to Muhammad, as it prevented the B. Damra to mobilize forces against him, nor could they assist Muhammad’s enemy who were principally the Quraysh. In return, Muhammad pledged not to wage any war against this tribe. Then Muhammad went as far as Waddan in pursuit of the Quraysh caravan, but it eluded him. Although he failed in his pursuit of the Quraysh booty, he cleverly concluded this strategically important treaty of friendship with this nomadic (B. Damra) tribe. The treaty provided him with an ally in his raid on Quraysh caravans.  After concluding the treaty he returned to Medina after fifteen days.




[Please note: Ghazwa means either a military force when an Apostle (Rasul) leads it or an Imam.[7] It also means a sudden attack on a caravan or another tribe for the purpose of seizing property and women.[8]


 Sariyah or brigade means a small force commanded by one of the Imam’s lieutenants.[9]




There is an allusion in Sahih Bukhari of this very first, personal act of terrorism by Muhammad:




Volume 4, Book 52, Number 256: Narrated As-Sab bin Jaththama:




The Prophet passed by me at a place called Al-Abwa or Waddan, and was asked whether it was permissible to attack the pagan warriors at night with the probability of exposing their women and children to danger. The Prophet replied, "They (i.e. women and children) are from them (i.e. pagans)." I also heard the Prophet saying, "The institution of Hima is invalid except for Allah and His Apostle."




This Hadith clearly says that in his terror operations Muhammad did not even want to spare the women and children of the infidels.




Terror Five




Raid on a Rich Meccan Caravan at Bawat by Muhammad—October, 623CE




A month after his raid at al-Abwa, Muhammad personally led two hundred men including some citizens of Medina to Bawat, a place on the caravan route of the Quraysh merchants, where a herd of fifteen hundred (1,500) to two thousand-five hundred (2,500) camels, accompanied by one hundred (100) riders, under the leadership of Umayyah ibn Khalaf, a Quraysh was proceeding. The purpose of this raid, obviously, was the plunder of this exceedingly rich Quraysh caravan.




No battle took place and the raid resulted in no booty. Muhammad went up to Dhat al-Saq, in the desert of al-Khabar. He prayed there and a mosque was built at the spot.


This was the first raid where a few al-Usharayh  Ansars took part. They were attracted to the raid with the prospect of striking it rich through pillage.




Terror Six




Raid on a Meccan Caravan at al-Ushayrah, in the district of Yanbu by Muhammad—November, 623CE




This was Muhammad’s third personal raid. Between one hundred-fifty and two hundred (note the increasing number of Jihadists joining in the robbery) followers joined this terror operation. They had thirty camels that they rode upon by turns. When they arrived at al-Usharayh in the direction of Yanbo, they expected to waylay upon a rich Meccan caravan towards Syria led by Abu Sufyan. Muhammad already had the intelligence report of this caravan’s departure from Mecca. He waited for a month ( ) for this caravan to pass. Unfortunately, it was too late; for, when Muhammad reached the intended spot of plunder, the Meccan caravan had already passed. The readers should keep in mind of this raid, as this was the same caravan that gave rise to the famous action at Badr (Badr II) during its return journey. In this operation, Muhammad entered into an alliance with Bani Mudlij, a tribe inhabiting the vicinity of al-Usharayh. He also concluded another treaty with Bani Damra. All those treaties established good political connections for him.




Terror Seven




Raid on Muhammad’s Milch Camels at Badr (Badr I) by Kurz ibn Jabir al-Fihri—December, 623CE  




After those six unprovoked and hostile attacks on the Quraysh caravans, the Quraysh had had enough. It was now time for them to retaliate and send a strong message to Muhammad that his highway robbery cannot go unpunished forever. With this end in view, Kurz ibn Jabir al-Fihri, allay of the Quarysh raided the vicinity of Medina where Muhammad’s milch camels were pasturing. This was conducted ten days after Muhammad returned to Medina from his unsuccessful plundering attempt at the Quraysh caravan at al-Usharayh. Having heard of this attack, Muhammad swiftly went out looking for Kurz until he reached the Safwa valley, close to Badr. This was the first raid at Badr or Badr I. Kurz escaped the capture; Muhammad returned to Medina and stayed there for the next three months. It is said that later, Muhammad caught Kurz and he (Kurz) converted to Islam.




Terror Eight




Raid on Meccan Caravan at Nakhla by Abd Allah ibn Jahsh, the First Successful Plunder—December, 623CE




After his return from the first Badr encounter, Muhammad sent Abd Allah b. Jahsh in Rajab with eight emigrants and without any Ansar for another terror operation. Abd Allah b. Jahsh was a maternal cousin of Muhammad. The participants in this plunder were: 1. Abu Haudhayfa 2. Abd Allah b Jahsh 3. Ukkash b. Mihsan 4. Utba b. Ghazwan 5. Sa’d b. Abi Waqqas 6. Amir b.Rabia 7. Waqid b. Abd Allah and 8. Khalid b. al-Bukayr. Some historians say that there were between seven to twelve partakers in this raiding/plundering party of the Muslims. It will be useful to remember the names of these very first Islam’s terrorists, as we shall witness, later, that their names crop up in many other terror operations.




Muhammad gave Abd Allah b. Jahsh a letter, but not to be read until he had travelled for two days and then to do what he was instructed to do in the letter without putting pressure on his companions. Abd Allah proceeded for two days, then he opened the letter; it told him to proceed until he reached at Nakhla, between Mecca and Taif, lie in wait for the Quraysh and observe what they were doing. Abd Allah b. Jahsh told his companions that whoever chose martyrdom (read terrorism) was free to join him and whoever did not could go back.  All the companions agreed to follow him (a few biographers write that two Muslims decided not to be martyrs and chose to return to Medina). Sa’d b. Abi Waqqas and Utbah b. Ghazwan lost a camel that they were taking turns to ride. The camel strayed and went to Buhran.  So they went out looking for the runaway camel to Buhran and fell behind the raiding party.




As instructed by the Prophet, Abd Allah and the rest of the party then proceeded, and soon they arrived at Nakhla. Nakhla was a valley to the east of Mecca, about half-way to Taif. It was the usual route to Syria for the Meccan caravans. Muhammad had the secret information that a rich Meccan caravan, lightly guarded, laden with dry raisin, wine leather and other goods was soon to pass by the route.




Four Quraysh men guarded this donkey caravan. They were:

  1. Amr b. al-Hadrami. He was the leader of the caravan.
  2. Uthman b. Abd Allah b. al-Mughirah.
  3. Nawfal b. Abd Allah b. al-Mughirah, Uthman’s brother.


4.      Al-Hakam b. Kaysan, the freed slave (Mawla)of Hisham b. al-Mughirah.




Soon the Meccan caravan arrived at Nakhla guarded by the four Quraysh men. When they saw the Muslims they were afraid of them. One of Abd Allah b. Jahsh’s men, Ukkash b Mihsan, was shaven in head to hide the real purpose of their journey and to give the Quraysh the impression of lesser Hajj (Umra); for, it was the month (Rajab) when hostilities were forbidden. When the Quraysh saw the shaven head of Ukkash, they thought that the Muslims were on their way for pilgrimage and they felt relieved and safe and started to prepare food for themselves. That was how the first band of Muslim Jihadists deceived their prey.




Due to the prevalence of a sacred month, either at the beginning of Rajab, or at the end of it(the opinion among the historians vary), Rajab being one of the four sacred months when there was a total ban on warfare and bloodshed in the Arabian Peninsula, Abd Allah b. Jahsh was, at first, hesitant to attack the caravan. Nevertheless, after much deliberation, the Muslims did not want this rich caravan to escape their hand. So they decided to kill as many Quraysh as they could and take a large booty. They attacked the Quraysh while they (the Quraysh) were busy preparing their food. In the short battle that ensued, Waqid b. Abd Allah killed Amr b. Hadrami, the leader of the Quraysh caravan. Nawfal b.Abd Allah escaped. The Muslims took Uthman b. Abd Allah and al-Hakam b. Kaysan as prisoners.




Abd Allah b. Jahsh returned to Medina with the booty and with the two captured Quraysh men. He had already decided to give one-fifth of the booty to Muhammad, and divide the rest among them. The prevailing share of the leader of a plundering party at that time was one-quarter of the booty. It is not clear why Abd Allah b. Jahsh decided on one-fifth booty, as Allah did not yet decide the provision of ‘Khums’ (gang leader’s commission on booty of plunder/theft) for Muhammad in verse 8:41. This verse was released after the Badr war, which took place after the plunder at Nakhla.




And know that out of all the booty that ye may acquire (in war), a fifth share is assigned to Allah,- and to the Messenger, and to near relatives, orphans, the needy, and the wayfarer,- if ye do believe in Allah and in the revelation We sent down to Our servant on the Day of Testing,- the Day of the meeting of the two forces. For Allah hath power over all things.


Since this bloodshed took place during a sacred month, Muhammad was quite unwilling to start an un-ending cycle of revenge killings. The Quraysh also spread everywhere the news of the raid and the killing by Muhammad in the sacred month. Therefore, he rebuked them (the Muslims) for fighting in the sacred month and refused to take any share from the booty. Then verse 2:217 regarding fighting in the sacred month was revealed.






 They ask thee concerning fighting in the Prohibited Month. Say: "Fighting therein is a grave (offence); but graver is it in the sight of Allah to prevent access to the path of Allah, to deny Him, to prevent access to the Sacred Mosque, and drive out its members." Tumult and oppression are worse than slaughter. Nor will they cease fighting you until they turn you back from your faith if they can. And if any of you Turn back from their faith and die in unbelief, their works will bear no fruit in this life and in the Hereafter; they will be companions of the Fire and will abide therein.


This revelation permitted Muhammad to conduct war during the sacred months.


Then Abd Allah b. Jahsh divided the booty, one-fifth going to Muhammad. He also decided to make more money by asking ransom for the two captives. However, Muhammad refused to accept the ransoms from the Quraysh until the two of his men, Sa’d b. Abi Waqqas and Utbah b. Ghazwan returned from searching the straying camel. He was afraid that the Quraysh might kill them if they found them. When Sa’d and Utbah returned unharmed, Muhammad released the two Quraysh prisoners on payment of their ransom of one thousand six hundred (1,600) Dirhams (one Dirham = 1/10 Dinar; one Dinar = 4.235 gm of gold;  at the current price of gold  this ransom was approximately USD 8,000) per head (i.e total ransom money was USD 16,000). It is reported that, soon after his release, Hakam b. Kaysan became a Muslim, probably after witnessing the profitability in terrorism a la Islamic style. Later, he was killed at the battle of Bir Mauna. The other prisoner, Uthman  b. Abd Allah returned to Mecca and died as an unbeliever.




The Islamic name of this first successful plunder is ‘Nakhla Raid.’ It was also the first raid on which the Muslims seized the first captive, and the first life they took. Rightfully, Abd Allah b. Jahsh was called the Amir al-Mominun, that is, the commander of the faithful.




After the success of Nakhla raid Muhammad felt militarily strong and promulgated the rule on the justification of transaction and the distribution of spoils of plunder. He actually legalized and legitimized plunder.




This successful raid on the Quraysh caravans gravely alarmed the Meccans, because their prosperity completely depended upon the regular and un-interrupted trade to Syria. The trading with Abyssinia and Yemen was of lesser importance. Even the trading caravan towards Abyssinia and Yemen did not look safe from the marauding army of Muhammad. The Nakhla attack also greatly unnerved the Meccans. They now believed that Muhammad had very little respect for life, and absolutely no concern for the sanctity of the sacred months. So the Meccans resolved to avenge the bloodshed. However, the Quraysh restrained their hostility. Muhammad still had a few of his followers residing at Mecca, including his own daughter, Zaynab. The Quraysh did not take any revenge on the remaining followers of Muhammad (including Muhammad’s daughter) at Mecca, neither did they make any attempt to harass his beloved daughter, Zaynab.




Muhammad, on the other hand, after the success at Nakhla, contemplated a more severe and mortal attack on the Quraysh. Allah now gave him the permission to fight the unbelievers in verses 22:39-42, 2:190-194.  As well, the raid at Nakhla was justified by the ‘expulsion’ of the believers from Mecca.  However, the true reason was “until the religion became God’s alone.” That meant, until all the Meccans (or the world) accepted Islam.




 To those against whom war is made, permission is given (to fight), because they are wronged;- and verily, Allah is most powerful for their aid;-

 (They are) those who have been expelled from their homes in defiance of right,- (for no cause) except that they say, "our Lord is Allah". Did not Allah check one set of people by means of another, there would surely have been pulled down monasteries, churches, synagogues, and mosques, in which the name of Allah is commemorated in abundant measure. Allah will certainly aid those who aid his (cause);- for verily Allah is full of Strength, Exalted in Might, (able to enforce His Will).
 (They are) those who, if We establish them in the land, establish regular prayer and give regular charity, enjoin the right and forbid wrong: with Allah rests the end (and decision) of (all) affairs.

 If they treat thy (mission) as false, so did the peoples before them (with their Prophets),- the People of Noah, and 'Ad and Thamud;


 Fight in the cause of Allah those who fight you, but do not transgress limits; for Allah loveth not transgressors.
 And slay them wherever ye catch them, and turn them out from where they have Turned you out; for tumult and oppression are worse than slaughter; but fight them not at the Sacred Mosque, unless they (first) fight you there; but if they fight you, slay them. Such is the reward of those who suppress faith.
 But if they cease, Allah is Oft-forgiving, Most Merciful.
 And fight them on until there is no more Tumult or oppression, and there prevail justice and faith in Allah; but if they cease, Let there be no hostility except to those who practise oppression.
 The prohibited month for the prohibited month,- and so for all things prohibited,- there is the law of equality. If then any one transgresses the prohibition against you, Transgress ye likewise against him. But fear Allah, and know that Allah is with those who restrain themselves.


Those who were reluctant to join in the war of plunder were reproved. Allah’s revelation on this came down in verses 47:20-21. These verses granted paradise to those who fight (or terrorize and plunder) for Islam i.e. Jihad, and are killed.




Those who believe say, "Why is not a sura sent down (for us)?" But when a sura of basic or categorical meaning is revealed, and fighting is mentioned therein, thou wilt see those in whose hearts is a disease looking at thee with a look of one in swoon at the approach of death. But more fitting for them-

 Were it to obey and say what is just, and when a matter is resolved on, it were best for them if they were true to Allah.


Allah then asked these terrorists to “strike off the heads of the unbelievers; to make a great slaughter and bind them fast in bonds” in verse 47:3-4




 This because those who reject Allah follow vanities, while those who believe follow the Truth from their Lord: Thus does Allah set forth for men their lessons by similitudes.
 Therefore, when ye meet the Unbelievers (in fight), smite at their necks; At length, when ye have thoroughly subdued them, bind a bond firmly (on them): thereafter (is the time for) either generosity or ransom: Until the war lays down its burdens. Thus (are ye commanded): but if it had been Allah's Will, He could certainly have exacted retribution from them (Himself); but (He lets you fight) in order to test you, some with others. But those who are slain in the Way of Allah,- He will never let their deeds be lost.


Furthermore, the true believers were expected not only to fight but also to contribute materially towards the cost of war (4:66-67, 9:88, 9:111), to kill and be killed. Those who did this were promised a higher rank in paradise (4:74, 4:95). The believers were asked to prepare whatever force in their ability, troops, horses, etc. to strike terror into the hearts of the unbelievers (remember Dr. Mahathir’s famous Jewish-bashing speech at OIC conference in late 2003?) (9:73, 123, 8:60).




 If We had ordered them to sacrifice their lives or to leave their homes, very few of them would have done it: But if they had done what they were (actually) told, it would have been best for them, and would have gone farthest to strengthen their (faith);
 And We should then have given them from our presence a great reward;


 But the Messenger, and those who believe with him, strive and fight with their wealth and their persons: for them are (all) good things: and it is they who will prosper.
 Allah hath purchased of the believers their persons and their goods; for theirs (in return) is the garden (of Paradise): they fight in His cause, and slay and are slain: a promise binding on Him in truth, through the Law, the Gospel, and the Qur'an: and who is more faithful to his covenant than Allah? then rejoice in the bargain which ye have concluded: that is the achievement supreme.

 Let those fight in the cause of Allah Who sell the life of this world for the hereafter. To him who fighteth in the cause of Allah,- whether he is slain or gets victory - Soon shall We give him a reward of great (value).
 Not equal are those believers who sit (at home) and receive no hurt, and those who strive and fight in the cause of Allah with their goods and their persons. Allah hath granted a grade higher to those who strive and fight with their goods and persons than to those who sit (at home). Unto all (in Faith) Hath Allah promised good: But those who strive and fight Hath He distinguished above those who sit (at home) by a special reward,-




 O Prophet! strive hard against the unbelievers and the Hypocrites, and be firm against them. Their abode is Hell,- an evil refuge indeed.
 O ye who believe! fight the unbelievers who gird you about, and let them find firmness in you: and know that Allah is with those who fear Him.


 Against them make ready your strength to the utmost of your power, including steeds of war, to strike terror into (the hearts of) the enemies, of Allah and your enemies, and others besides, whom ye may not know, but whom Allah doth know. Whatever ye shall spend in the cause of Allah, shall be repaid unto you, and ye shall not be treated unjustly.


These messages were promulgated within two or three years after Muhammad’s arrival at Medina. These promulgations were not only for the refugees (Muhajirs) but also to all the men of Medina.




(Note: From now on, to conserve space, only the verse numbers will be quoted omitting the full texts of the verses).



Section Three




‘Cruelty is the first of God’s attributes—Andre Gide (1869-1951)[10]




Terror Nine




The Battle of Badr II Led by Muhammad—March, 624CE




It was mentioned previously (Terror 6, CH. 2) that Muhammad, and his accomplices narrowly missed the booty of a caravan of the Quraysh led by Abu Sufyan. As written before, when Muhammad arrived at al-Ushayra to attack this caravan, he learned to his dismay that this richly-laden caravan had already passed two days earlier than his advent at the intended site of pillage. Naturally, his booty-hungry followers were very much dejected at this unexpected loss. Muhammad, however, was astute enough to be aware that the same caravan could be successfully attacked during its return journey from al-Sham (Syria). Only three months of patience and waiting was essential to seize the returning caravan. With this end in view, Muhammad started to recruit Jihadists for his next plundering mission.




In his mosque, he called the Muslims and tempted them to raid the Quraysh caravan for rich booty. He told his congregation[11], “This is the Quraysh caravan containing their property. Go out to attack it, perhaps God will give it as a prey. ” Hitherto, he never mentioned to the local people of Medina about engaging in a war for booty. They always betook him to be altruistic, very pious, noble, peace-loving and a non-belligerent Prophet of mercy and compassion. Many Muslims were greatly shocked at what Muhammad had said at the gathering in the mosque, and they could not believe when he invited them to join him in the loot that Muhammad would go to war. They were truly surprised. However, the greed for a rich booty gripped their minds and there was no shortage of volunteers to take a chance to improve their lot with the proceeds of plunder.




On this greed for ill-gotten wealth, Rodinson writes:[12]


 “As the business began to show a profit they were joined by volunteers from the people of Medina, in spite of the fact that their agreement with Muhammad carried with it no obligation to take part in his campaigns.”




The response to Muhammad’s call was mixed. Many people joined his team willingly, but many were also forced or coerced into the Muslim brigand. Muhammad set up the condition that only the Muslims were eligible to join in this terror campaign. Many non-believers tried their luck, but Muhammad was adamant that no Islam meant no share in the spoils. In this way his campaign was a great success among the local Medina Muslims (Ansars). Up until now no Ansar had joined Muhammad in his previous missions of highway robbery. The success of Abdullah ibn Jahsh at Nakhla, however, had raised the desire for booty in the minds of many Ansars. This irresistible lure and greed for the plunder of fine Quraysh merchandise was such a great draw-in that many Medinites responded to his call of raiding the Quraysh caravan with raging alacrity. Such was the enthusiasm for this Jihad of plunder that Muhammad quickly recruited a strong force of three hundred and thirteen (313) men consisting of seventy-seven (77) Muhajirs (refugee migrants) and two hundred and thirty-six (236) Ansars. Thus, the Ansars formed the bulk of his new raiding party of Jihadists.




A few weeks before his departure for Badr, and when the Quraysh caravan came in the vicinity of Medina, Muhammad sent two spies, Talhah ibn Ubaydullah and Said ibn Zayd to track the caravan’s whereabouts. These two men arrived at the campsite of Kashd al-Juhany and hid there until the caravan passed. Forty men guarded the Meccan caravan.[13]  The two Muslim spies estimated that the goods the caravan carried were around fifty thousand (50,000) Dinars. (Remember: one Dinar = 4.235 grams of gold. At the current price of gold, this booty was worth about US$ 2,725,000, not including the prices of captives, camels and other items). It was absolutely fabulous; those two spies had no hesitation in surmising. They immediately hastened to pass this good news to Muhammad. Muhammad, however, had already left for Badr just a day before these two spies returned to Medina. He was too impatient for the booty; he could not wait for the spies’ return. Thus, Talhah ibn Ubaydullah and Said ibn Zayd had to stay back in Medina, missing the Muslim army. Nevertheless, Muhammad did not disappoint these two faithful spies for their services. Each of them received full share of the plunder when Muhammad returned to Medina. Remaining at Medina also was Muhammad’s son-in-law, Uthman b. Affan. Uthman’s wife, Ruqayyah (Muhammad’s daughter) fell ill during this time and he had to stay back to look after her. Muhammad gave his son-in-law his full share of the booty. Such was the generosity of the Prophet of mercy! Sahih Bukhari records Muhammad’s promise of booty to his son-in-law in this way:




Volume 4, Book 53, Number 359: Narrated Ibn 'Umar:


'Uthman did not join the Badr battle because he was married to one of the daughters of Allah's Apostle and she was ill. So, the Prophet said to him. "You will get a reward and a share (from the war booty) similar to the reward and the share of one who has taken part in the Badr battle."


In the meantime, through spies and reliable sources, the news of Muhammad’s preparation to raid the Quraysh caravan reached Abu Sufyan. He was dreadfully alarmed. He was aware of the treaties that Muhammad had entered into with many tribes on the caravan route; there was a great possibility of a surprise attack by them as well. He, forthwith, sent Damdam b. Amr al-Ghifari to Mecca for help. When Damdam arrived at Mecca, he cut the nose of his camel, turned its saddle and announced Muhammad’s plan to attack the caravan of Abu Sufyan. Responding to his cry, Abu Jahl called upon all the Meccans to join in the rescue operation. At that time, Banu Kinanah and Banu Bakr tribes were in enmity with the Quraysh. So they did not pay heed to Abu Jahl’s call. Taking full advantage of the Quraysh’s bad time, they, at first, decided to attack the Quraysh from behind, but in the end, the chief of the Kinanah tribe, Suraqa b. Malik decided not to betray the Quraysh. The Muslim biographer, like Ibn Ishaq calls this Suraqa an Iblis.[14] When the Quraysh were assured of non-aggression from these two tribes, Abu Jahl and Amir ibn al-Hadrami (Amr ibn Hadrami’s brother; remember? Amr was killed by the Muslims at Nakhla) convinced the Meccans in favour of war with Muhammad. So every able-bodied person from the Quraysh joined in, except for Abu Lahab. He sent, in his place, al-As b. Hisham (the maternal uncle of Umar b. Khattab) who owed him four thousand Dirhams that he could not pay back. Abu Lahab hired him to proxy-fight for him to clear his debt.[15]




While the Quraysh were readying for the war, Muhammad was completely unaware of the preparation of the Meccans to face him militarily. He was very confident that he will prevail and will accumulate the Quraysh booty.




So, with much hope and great confidence, on Sunday, the 10th March, 624 CE (12th Ramadan, AH2), Muhammad, along with the three hundred and thirteen (313) (the number ranges from 307 to 318) Jihadists, marched out from Medina towards Badr. Ahead of the Muslims were two black flags, one carried by Ali ibn Talib and the other carried by an Ansar man. Seventy camels marched with them and the three hundred plus Muslim soldiers took turns to ride on them. They had only two horses with them. Muhammad kept Abu Lubaba in charge of upper Medina. Instead of the direct route to Mecca, to hide detection, he took an unusual route that passed by Irqul Zabya, Saffra and Dhafiran.[16]




On Monday, the 11th of March, Muhammad arrived near Saffra.  He sent two spies, Basbas b. Amr al-Juhani and Adi b. Abu Zaghba to Badr for intelligence regarding any preparation being made for the reception of Abu Sufiyan at Badr and to ascertain the whereabouts of the Quraysh caravan. It was there that Muhammad expected to encounter the caravan and to make a sudden attack. While there, the spies overheard the conversation of two women near a well that the Quraysh caravan was expected within a day or two. They hurried to Muhammad to forward this important information.




In the early morning of Tuesday, 12th of March,[17] Abu Sufyan came in advance of the caravan and halted at the wadi (watering well) and got wind of the presence of Muhammad’s party by examining the distinct Medina camel droppings of Basbas and Adi. Abu Sufiyan was extremely worried at the sinister plot of Muhammad and he hurriedly went back to his main caravan; diverted it towards the coastal route, thus saving it from the pillage by Muhammad’s soldiers. In reality, Muhammad missed the caravan by a few hours only,[18] Abu Sufyan himself went along with the caravan to ensure its safe arrival at Mecca. He sent a second courier, Qays b. Imea al-Qays[19] to inform the advancing Meccan army of his decision to detour the Quraysh caravan and to forward the message that the danger was over. During this time, Muhammad was at Rooha and drank from a well there.




On Wednesday, the 13th of March, this second courier of Abu Sufyan met at Johfa the Meccan army led by Abu Jahl. Abu Jahl was proceeding to provide the added security for the threatened caravan. The courier told Abu Jahl that Abu Sufyan felt no necessity of bloodshed since the caravan was safe. He asked Abu Jahl and his men to return to Mecca. But Abu Jahl insisted on advancing forward to Badr, wishing to do some trading as well as to enjoy some wining and dining there. The accompanying singing girls, however, were sent back to Mecca.[20] Two tribes of the Quraysh, B. Zohra (Muhammad’s mother’s tribe) and B. Adi (Umar’s tribe) also decided to return to Mecca.




The remaining Meccan army marched forward and reached Badr in the evening of Thursday, 14th of March. They encamped on the far side of the Badr well and behind the mountain.




Meanwhile, Muhammad was proceeding forward.  And in the early morning of Thursday, the 14th of March, when he arrived at Dhafiran, not very far from Badr, to his chagrin, he received the news of the Quraysh army advancing to protect their richly-laden caravan. He was quite frustrated at the prospect of a bloody war instead of an easy victory for booty. The bad news for the Jihadists was that the prized caravan had already passed.




The news of the advancing Meccan army was completely unexpected to the Muslims. Muhammad himself was not sure if he should proceed further or not, now that the booty had eluded them. Facing the dilemma of whether an attack against the Quraysh would constitute a breach of his covenant of protection with the Ansars (a pledge that stipulated that the Ansars protect Muhammad if he was attacked at Medina and its vicinity), Muhammad, in a meeting of his war council, sought the advice of all the Muslims, especially that of the Ansars. He was afraid that the Ansars might not protect him outside Medina.  Abu Bakr and Umar called for an immediate rally. The people of Medina also pledged their support for the march. The leader of the Ansars (from Bani al-Aws), Sa’d b. Muadh promised that the Ansars would sink if Muhammad led them to the sea and plunged into it. Then all the Ansars pledged to fight with Muhammad. Deeply pleased, Muhammad asked his men to proceed. He promised a slaughter to the enemy. To please the booty-hungry Jihadists, he disclosed that Allah, as per verse 8:7, had promised them either the army or the caravan.




Trudging further, Muhammad, with his henchmen arrived at Badr in the early morning of Thursday, ahead of the Meccan army and camped there. A shelter from palm branches was built for him. He got hold of the water wells first. As per the advice of the war veteran, al-Hubab, Muhammad filled all the water wells except the one nearest to him. The Muslims then made a cistern and filled that with water. This clever strategy put the Muslims at a decisive advantage of complete control of the water supply. Thus, the enemy was now at the mercy of Muhammad’s soldiers if they needed water. And Muhammad’s army was ready to kill any Meccan who ventured to approach the cistern to drink from there.




Soon after his very early morning arrival at Badr, Muhammad sought to gather accurate intelligence about the Meccan army. First, he, along with Abu Bakr went out spying.[21] They met a man on the road and inquired of him about the situation. The man would not tell the truth until Muhammad agreed to disclose his identity. So they (Muhammad and Abu Bakr) tried to gather more information about the Quraysh army through mendacity. The extracted information was not much use to Muhammad. In the evening he despatched Ali and a few others to further survey the area surrounding a spring. There, they located two Quraysh slave water carriers. Ali and his companions abducted these two slaves and brought them to Muhammad. The slaves told the Muslims that they were the water carriers of the Quraysharmy. This was a bad news for the Muslims; for, they hoped that the slaves were from Abu Sufyan’s camp. After applying apposite torture to these two slaves, the Muslims extracted the information about the position and the probable strength of the Quraysharmy. This information, along with the fact that the Quraysh had slaughtered nine camels on the first day and ten camels on the second day, gave Muhammad some idea about the probable size of the Quraysh army. He speculated that the Quraysh army must be between nine hundred (900) to one thousand (1,000) men strong. This guess was quite accurate, for, there were nine hundred and fifty (950) Quraysh men. They were mounted on seven hundred (700) camels and one hundred (100) horses. When Muhammad learned about the nobles of the Quraysh present, he said, “Here Mecca has flung its dearest flesh and blood to you.”[22]




At nightfall, Muhammad, along with Abu Bakr returned to his lair and started praying to Allah for His succor. Sa’d b. Muadh kept a vigil at the entrance. The Muslims too, were weary due to the lengthy and arduous march they had to undertake for the last few days. Fatigue and exhaustion overcame them and soon they went into a deep and peaceful slumber. Then the rain came. It rained during the night but more heavily towards the Meccan camp. Due to the rain the wadi bed became soft but firm, which was an advantage to the Muslims. This rain was alluded to in the Qur’an in verse 8:11 as a purification of Allah. At night, as mentioned in 8:45, Muhammad imagined the army of Quraysh to be weak.




Both sides were restless until morning broke. At dawn, while Muhammad was organizing his men into ranks, a few thirsty Quraysh men approached the well for water. Muhammad prayed to Allah for their destruction.




The Muslims hoisted three banners, one for the refugees, in the hands of Musab, one for the Khazarites, by al-Hobab and one for the Bani Aws by Sa’d ibn Muadh.


The Quraysh also drew up their lines and started moving forward. However, they were divided on the policy of fighting against their kinsmen. Shayba and Utba, the two Quraysh chiefs strongly urged that the attack should be abandoned. It should be remembered that Utba was the father of Hind, the wife of Abu Sufyan b. Harb and Shayba was Utba’s brother (i.e., Hind’s uncle). They provided shelter to Muhammad while he (Muhammad) was driven out from Taif by the stone-pelting street boys. Utba and Shayba simply wanted the reparation (blood money) for the killing of their confederate (Amr b. al-Hadrami). So Utbah sent a message to Abu Jahl to retreat from his (Abu Jahl’s) cousin (i.e., Muhammad).




One of Utba’s sons, Abu Hudhayfah was a new Jihadist, and he was with Muhammad. That was why Utbah did not want to fight with Muhammad—Abu Jahl propagated this and condemned the cowardice of Utba to fight the Muslim army. Amr b. Hadrami’s brother, Amir b. al-Hadrami exhorted his people to take revenge for the killing of his brother. So reluctantly, Utba agreed to proceed with the battle, but expressed his desire not to kill Muhammad notwithstanding the raging bitter enmity and hatred between the two sides. Just then Omayr, a Quraysh arrowman brought the news of the Muslim army’s preparation for a war. He proposed a peaceful settlement with the Muslim army but Abu Jahl rejected the proposal. So, the Quraysharmy got ready for a fight. They moved slowly over the intervening sand hills that were made difficult from the previous night’s rain. However, as mentioned earlier, the rain brought an advantage to Muhammad by rendering the ground in front of Muhammad lighter and firmer to walk upon. Another disadvantage of the Quraysh was that they faced the rising sun before them while Muhammad’s army faced towards the west.




As soon as Muhammad had finished organizing his army ranks, he faced the advancing column of the Quraysh appearing over the rising sands in front. While praying to Allah for His assistance so that his little army would not vanquish, he was very concerned and went inside his little hut for a consultation with Abu Bakr. To assure His unflinching aid, Allah revealed 8:46. This verse gave the encouragement to the Muslim soldiers to advance to victory. Another verse 2:42-44 was also revealed. Other important verses related to Badr battle were doubling the army of Medina in 3:18……etc.




The Quraysh army now moved close, but the Muslim army did not move from their position which was at a much higher elevation than the Quraysh army and was, therefore, more advantageous to shoot arrows and spears at the enemy. Observing the strength of Quraysh army, Muhammad became nervous and started praying vigorously. This time, Allah sent him the assurance: like 20 for 200…..etc through verses 8:65, 66. Allah also forbade the Jihadists, in verses 8:15-16, from fleeing from a combat.In fact, ever since then, this provision has become a Sharia Law (Islamic Law) on combat (Reliance of The Traveller, p.659).




While this preparation was going on, Hakim b. Hizam, followed by a few other of the Quraysh, went to drink water from the cistern that Muhammad had dug. Every Quraysh man who came to drink was killed on that day with the exception of Hakim b. Hizam. It is not clear why Muhammad had decided to spare the life Hakim b. Hizam. None of the biographers give a convincing reason for Muhammad’s mercy upon him. However, we learn that Hakim b. Hizam later became a Muslim. Being alarmed at the fate of thirsty Quraysh, Abd al-Aswad Makhzami from the Quraysh sought to destroy the trough that the Muslims had just built, and vowed to drink water from the cistern that Muhammad had dug. When he went out, and before he could reach the cistern, Hamzah attacked him and cut off his foot and half of his leg. Abd al-Aswad crawled with his gravely wounded body towards the cistern and flung himself in it and drank the water from the spring reservoir. Hamzah hit him again with a blow that killed him on the spot. The battle now began. It was Friday, the 15th of March, 624CE (17th Ramadan, AH2). Although it was the fasting month, none of the Jihadists, not even the Apostle of Allah, fasted during fighting.[23]




In the beginning, the three Quraysh, Utbah b. Rabiah, his brother Shaybah b. Rabiah and Utba’s son al-Walid challenged the Muslims for single combats with them. First, Utbah b. Rabiah, refusing to fight with the Ansars asked the Quraysh in Muhammad’s camp to fight him in a single combat. They wanted to fight only with the people from their own tribe, namely their cousins, from the sons of al-Muttalib. So, when three Medina citizens stepped forward Muhammad called them back and asked his kinsmen, the sons of Hashim to arise and fight instead. Following Muhammad’s instruction, Hamzah, Ali and Obaydah (the uncle and the cousin respectively of Muhammad) went for the battle. Hamza wore an Ostrich feather in his breast, and Ali wore a white plume (a feather of horse hair) in his helmet.




Then Utba called his son, Walid, to arise and fight. He fought with Ali. It was a short combat. Ali mortally wounded Walid with his sword. When Utba moved forward, Hamza met him and killed him. Shayba now fought with Obaydah. Both of them were quite old. They battled for a while. At last, Shayba dealt a sword-cut on the leg of Obaydah that nearly severed his leg and brought him to the ground. Witnessing this, Hamza and Ali rushed on Shayba and killed him. Obaydah survived for a few days, then he died.


The fighting then became general and a free-for-all. The first Muslim killed was Umar’s freed slave, Mihja, slain by Amir ibn al-Hadrami.[24]  Then Haritha b. Suraqah was killed. To incite his followers, Muhammad invoked the prospect of paradise to those who were slain. This motivated even a sixteen years-old boy, Umayr b. al-Humam,[25] who was eating dates. He threw the dates away and joined in the fighting. The boy was simply surprised to learn from Muhammad that all he had to do to go to paradise was to join in the Jihad and be killed. Soon, he was killed. Muhammad now exhorted that Allah loves fanatic Jihadists. Hearing this, an extremist, Auf  b. Harith, asked Muhammad: ‘O apostle of God, what makes the Lord laugh with joy at His servant? He answered, ”When he plunges into midst of the enemy without mail.” Auf drew off the mail-coat that was on him and threw it away: then he seized his sword and fought the enemy till he was slain."[26]  Whenever you watch on TV suicide bombers in action, remember those few words by the Prophet of mercy and you will surely understand what impelling force propels these fanatics to create the mind-boggling terror and to blow them apart.




The battle raged. For further invigoration of the Jihadists, Muhammad stooped down, lifted a handful of pebbles and threw them towards the Quraysh, crying aloud, “May their faces be deformed.”[27]  Allah, by declaring that it was not the act of Muhammad but that of Allah in verse 8:17, fully approved Muhammad’s symbolic action. The Muslim army was now full of enthusiasm and in extreme fighting-vigour that the Quraysh army failed to withstand. As the fighting raged, Muhammad sent an instruction to his soldiers that Abul Bakhtari and al-Abbas, Muhammad’s two uncles were not to be killed.[28] It is reported that al-Abbas was a secret agent of Islam at Mecca,[29] but the reason to spare the life of Abul Bakhtari is not clear, although Ibn Ishak states that Abul Bkhtari was sympathetic to Muhammad when some pagans tormented him (Muhammad) at Ka’ba. When many Jihadists protested at this unexpected show of mercy for a few selected enemy combatants, Umar threatened to cut off their heads. Thus, the dissenters had no choice but to comply with their master’s request. Ibn Ishaq[30] reports that, besides the general killing in the battle, four apostates were specifically targeted for slaughter. These four Quraysh embraced Islam but did not migrate to Medina with Muhammad because their family members obstructed their departure by confining them in their homes. Later, they left Islam and joined the Quraysh in Badr. Muhammad had no mercy for them. All of them were slain by the Jihadists. Muhammad even invented a verse (4:97) to justify their killing.




004.097: When angels take the souls of those who die in sin against their souls, they say: "In what (plight) Were ye?" They reply: "Weak and oppressed Were we in the earth." They say: "Was not the earth of Allah spacious enough for you to move yourselves away (From evil)?" Such men will find their abode in Hell,- What an evil refuge!




The spirit and frenzy of killing among the Jihadists was so intense that Hazrat Umar killed his own maternal uncle, al-As b. Hisham b. al-Mughira. (Remember?  He was proxy fighting for Abu Lahab, the great enemy of Islam!)




While the fighting continued, Muhammad remained at his shelter with Abu Bakr praying to Allah for victory. He implored Allah to send His assistance to the Muslims. So Allah replied in 8:9 to assist Muhammad with thousands of angels! It was a stormy winter day with a ferocious gusty wind blowing around. Three strong blasts of severe storm lashed the battlefield, and Muhammad immediately ascribed them as the angels sent by Allah to help the Jihadists. He told his fighting men that the first blast was one thousand angels led by the archangel Gabriel, the second blast was one thousand angels led by the archangel Michael and the third blast was another one thousand angels led by the archangel Saraphel.[31]. Thus, as confirmed in verse 3:124, Allah initially sent three thousand angel soldiers to help the Muslim fighters. When fighting became tougher Muhammad requested further reinforcement from his Allah and Allah immediately complied by sending another two thousand angels. Thus, as told in verse 3:125, in all, five thousand invisible angels from the almighty Allah, in addition to the three hundred plus Jihadists were required for the Muslim victory. The fanatic Jihadists claimed that the signs of the angels at Badr were white turbans.[32] or were they yellow turbans?[33]




Here is a Hadith from Sahih Bukhari that says that Gabriel came down to help Muhammad:




Volume 5, Book 59, Number 330: Narrated Ibn 'Abbas:


The Prophet said on the day (of the battle) of Badr, "This is Gabriel holding the head of his horse and equipped with arms for the battle.”


Thus, with the help of Gabriel the Quraysh started faltering. The heavy sands on which they stood impeded their movements. Some of their ranks gave way. Confusion raged and they started to retreat; began running and the Muslims were pressing after them to capture those of the Quraysh whom they did not kill in the battlefield. The Muslims followed their retreating steps, slaying or taking captive those that fell into their hands. The Quraysh, in their haste to escape, cast away their armour and abandoned their beasts of burden with all their camps and equipment.  Seventy (some say forty-nine) Quraysh were killed and around the same number were taken prisoners. The Muslims lost only fourteen of their men, eight were Medina citizens and six were refugees. They also took many Quraysh nobles as captives. Muhammad gave orders not to kill his uncle al-Abbas. When Abu Hudhayfah (remember? his father, Utbah bin Rabiah was killed by Ali) protested about Muhammad’s double- standard and wanted to kill al-Abbas, while Umar threatened to cut-off the head of Abu Hudhayfah.[34] The Muslim soldiers caught a fleeing Abu al-Bakhtari (another uncle of Muhammad) along with his rider companion. The Jihadists agreed to spare the life of al-Bakhtari (as per Muhammad’s instruction) but not the life of his companion. When Bakhtari sought to protect the life of his companion rider the Muslims declined. So Bakhtari fought the Muslim and was killed. This news was brought to Muhammad.




In all, the Muslims took seventy (some say forty-four) Quraysh as captives. Sa’d b. Muadh wanted to kill all the prisoners, saying, “This was the first defeat inflicted by Allah on the polytheists, and killing the prisoners would have been more pleasing to me than sparing them.”[35] However, the prisoners were distributed to the Muslims for their safe keeping until Muhammad returned to Medina.




There is a heart-wrenching tale of how cruelly the Jihadists treated some captives. Umayah b. Khalaf was a polytheist, but he was a friend of Abd Umar, the new convert to Islam.  Therefore, Umayah and his son Ali volunteered Abd Umar to become the prisoner of a Muslim. The famous Jihadist, Abd al Rahman b. Awf took charge of him in the expectation of a large ransom. It is reported that Umayah used to torment Bilal, the well-known Negro crier of Islamic prayer calls. When Bilal saw that Umayah and his son Ali were being led away by Abd al Rahman b. Awf, he shouted out to the Muslims to kill his former tormentor. Abd Rahman b. Awf immediately repudiated Bilal by calling him (Bilal) the son of a black woman and commanded him not to kill Umayamah and his young son, Ali. However, this plea of Abd al Rahman fell on deaf ears. On the cry of Bilal, other Muslims hacked Umayyah b. Khalaf and his son Ali to death and cut them into pieces. Abd al Rahman b Awf then cursed Bilal for killing his captive as he missed the opportunity of ransoming his captives (Umayyah b. Khalaf and his son).




Muhammad’s son-in-law, Abu al-Aas was also taken a prisoner. Khadija (Muhammad’s first wife) was his aunt. His mother was Hala d. Khuwaylid. Khadija used to regard him as her own son. Abu al-Aas did not embrace Islam and refused to divorce his wife Zaynab, Muhammad’s eldest daughter. He joined the Quraysh in the march against Muhammad at Badr.




The other famous Quraysh taken as captive were: Amr, Abu Sufyan’s son (not from Hind but from another wife of Abu Sufyan b. Harb) and Amir b. Al-Hadrami, Abu Sufyan’s close friend. Another son of Abu Sufyan, Hanzala was killed at Badr.[36]




As soon as the battle was over, there was widespread plundering by the Muslim soldiers. The Jihadistsalso told the incredible story that the heads of polytheists would fall off before a Muslim’s sword touched them. This they ascribed as help from the angels.




Abu Jahl, one of Muhammad’s uncles, was an implacable foe of Muhammad. Muhammad had such an unrelenting hatred for him that he gave him the appellation, Abu Jahl (“father of folly”) to his original respectable name of Abul Hakam (“father of wisdom”). Not being satisfied with such a sordid act, Muhammad wanted Abu Jahl to be killed.[37]  To carry out Muhammad’s instruction, Muadh b. Amr, along with two Medina youths, Auf b. Afra and Muwawwidh b. Afra, the two sons of Afra, set out to search and slay Abu Jahl. Muadh found Abu Jahl in a thicket and attacked him. He brought Abu Jahl to the ground by a blow that cut Abu Jahl’s leg into two. Abu Jahl’s son, Ikrima struck Muadh and severed one of his arms, hanging only by the skin. Muadh then put his foot on the hanging arm, pulled it off, and went on fighting until the extreme pain forced him to quit the fight. At that time Muwawwidh b. Afra and his brother Auf b. Afra arrived at the site and killed the mortally wounded Abu Jahl. After the killing of Abu Jahl, they went back to fight the Quraysh and themselves were killed.[38]  When the news of a dying Abu Jahl reached Muhammad, he instructed his servant, Abd Allah b. Masud to search for Abu Jahl’s corpse. Abd Allah b. Masud went out and found a dying Abu Jahl in the shrub grasping for his last breath. Abu Jahl was still breathing when Muhammad’s servant, Abd Allah ran up and cut off his head and carried it to his master. Gloating from victory, Muhammad said, “The head of the enemy of Allah.” Abd Allah then cast the bloody head of Abu Jahl at his pitiless master’s feet. Muhammad said, “It is more acceptable to me than the choicest camels in all Arabia.” Then Muhammad rewarded Abd Allah b. Masud with the sword of murdered Abu Jahl. Sunaan Abu Dawud records it in this way:




Book 14, Number 2716: Narrated Abdullah ibn Mas'ud:


 At the battle of Badr the Apostle of Allah gave me Abu Jahl's sword, as I had killed him.


We read in Sahih Bukhari that two boys killed Abu Jahl and Muhammad rewarded them. Here is the Hadith from Sahih Bukhari:




Volume 4, Book 53, Number 369: Narrated 'Abdur-Rahman bin 'Auf:


While I was standing in the row on the day (of the battle) of Badr, I looked to my right and my left and saw two young Ansari boys, and I wished I had been stronger than they. One of them called my attention saying, "O Uncle! Do you know Abu Jahl?" I said, "Yes, what do you want from him, O my nephew?" He said, "I have been informed that he abuses Allah's Apostle. By Him in Whose Hands my life is, if I should see him, then my body will not leave his body till either of us meet his fate." I was astonished at that talk. Then the other boy called my attention saying the same as the other had said. After a while I saw Abu Jahl walking amongst the people. I said (to the boys), "Look! This is the man you asked me about." So, both of them attacked him with their swords and struck him to death and returned to Allah'S Apostle to inform him of that. Allah's Apostle asked, "Which of you has killed him?" Each of them said, "I Have killed him." Allah's Apostle asked, "Have you cleaned your swords?" They said, "No. " He then looked at their swords and said, "No doubt, you both have killed him and the spoils of the deceased will be given to Muadh bin Amr bin Al-Jamuh." The two boys were Muadh bin 'Afra and Muadh bin Amr bin Al-Jamuh.


My guess is that those two boys referred in the above Hadith were the two sons of Afra. Here is another Hadith from Sahih Bukhari on the last few moments of Abu Jahl:




Volume 5, Book 59, Number 300: Narrated Anas:




The Prophet said, "Who will go and see what has happened to Abu Jahl?" Ibn Mas'ud went and found that the two sons of 'Afra had struck him fatally (and he was in his last breaths). 'Abdullah bin Mas'ud said, "Are you Abu Jahl?" And took him by the beard. Abu Jahl said, "Can there be a man superior to one you have killed or one whom his own folk have killed?"




The battle over, Muhammad gave orders that all the enemy corpses, including that of Abu Jahl and his severed head, be thrown into a well. Twenty-four dead bodies of the infidels were thrown in this filthy well. (See Sahih Bukhari, vol. 5, book 59, number 314.) When this was duly done, he stood at the well, talked to the corpses of the Quraysh,[39] haranguing them for their folly, disbelief and for rejecting him as the messenger of Allah. When the Muslims asked him if the dead could hear, Muhammad replied that the dead could indeed hear better than the living, except that the deceased could not reply. Umayyah b. Khalaf’s body was not thrown into the well. His body started decaying. So they covered it with stones. Sahih Bukhari records:




Volume 2, Book 23, Number 452: Narrated Ibn 'Umar:


The Prophet looked at the people of the well (the well in which the bodies of the pagans killed in the Battle of Badr were thrown) and said, "Have you found true what your Lord promised you?" Somebody said to him, "You are addressing dead people." He replied, "You do not hear better than they but they cannot reply."


Among the pile of dead bodies was the corpse of Utba b. Rabiah, the father of Abu Hudhayfa, the newly recruited Islamic Jihadist. When Muhammad observed some sadness in Hudhayfa’s face he blessed him, thinking that Hudhayfah was probably saddened by his father’s death. On this, the Jihadi son of Utba replied that his sadness was due to the unbelief of his father and not for his death! The Muslim son of Utbah, Hudhayfah regretted that his father did not embrace Islam after all!!  Such was the blind devotion and resolve of the Jihadists to fanaticism.




These obsequies of the infidels done, the Muslims remained in the battlefield until the end of the day. Then they carried their dead and wounded and retired to a valley, several miles from Badr, and buried their slain comrades there. Now was the time to wrangle over war booty. When the rest of the Quraysh army disappeared, the Muslims engaged themselves in the gathering of spoils. Muhammad promised every Jihadist that he could keep the booty he (the Jihadist) took personally. Thus, every Jihadist was allowed to retain the plunder of those whom he had killed with his own hands. Those who did not fight directly, but protected Muhammad also wanted equal share of the booty. Some people complained that Muhammad had taken a beautiful red vestment (official garment) without the knowledge of others. So, Allah revealed the verse 3:161:“It is not for a Prophet to conceal booty……..,” exonerating Muhammad of any embezzlement of war spoils. A dispute arose as to the distribution of spoils regarding who gets more and who gets less. Muhammad had to intervene with a revelation (8:41) from Allah. In this verse, the almighty proclaimed one-fifth booty is to be set-aside for Him and His dearest Prophet. Muhammad also prided himself that booty was made lawful only to him and not to other Prophets, as he was the most favourite of Allah. In accordance with this command of Allah, the rest of the spoils were gathered into a common stock for a fair distribution later, and Abdullah b. Ka’b, an officer, was appointed the guardian of the spoils. The Muslim army then started their return march to Medina.




The next day, the spoils were divided under a tree near Saffra. Everyone got equal share after one-fifth was set-aside for Muhammad. Horsemen received each two extra portions for their horses. Every man got a camel, a leather couch or some other item. Muhammad took as booty the famous camel of Abu Jahl. He later used it for conducting raids and as a stud for breeding camels. Reciting verse 55:45 andascribing this booty as a gift from Allah, he also took the sword, Dhu al-Faqr belonging Munabbih b. al-Hajjaj. As per the spoil distribution rule, he also had the exclusive right to choose his most favourite item before they were duly disbursed. The captives were also re-distributed among Muhammad’s companions for their fate to be decided at Medina.




The true blood-thirsty character of Muhammad was unveiled when the Muslim soldiers halted at Saffra. While distributing the captives, Muhammad recognised al-Nadr b. al-Harith, a Quraysh poet whom the Jihadists had captured. While Muhammad was at Mecca, al-Nadr composed verses that were superior to the Qur’an. Muhammad was greatly enraged by al-Nadr’s compositions. As alluded to in verse 8:31 (Dashti, p.47), Al-Nadr b. al-Harith also criticized Qur’anic verses by uttering that they (the verses) were only fables of the ancients, that the Meccans had heard similar verses before.Muhammad had no kindness for al-Nadr. To quench his thirst for revenge, the Prophet of mercy gave orders that the hapless al-Nadr be killed. Ali carried out Muhammad’s order by beheading al-Nadr at Saffra, right in front of Muhammad.[40] This was the tolerance Allah’s best creation had for his opponents who dared to challenge him intellectually. Rodinson[41] writes that Muhammad was extremely sensitive to intellectual attack on him. Having finished his critic, a satisfied Muhammad now gave order to march ahead for Medina.




Two days later, the Muslim army stopped at Irqu’l-Zabya, midway between Badr and Medina. Here Allah’s Apostle wanted to extinguish further, his lust for blood and retribution. Uqbah b. Abi Muyat, another prisoner, whose daughter was married to Abu Sufyan b. Harb’s son, ‘Amr b. Abi Sufyan, was ordered out for execution. The ‘offender’pleaded for mercy in the name of his little daughter. But Muhammad had no mercy for him. What did Uqba do to deserve such a terrible punishment from the Prophet of compassion and kindness? Muhammad claimed that Uqba tormented him when he preached his religion of love and compassion (Islam) at Ka’ba. Without showing even an atom of pity or kindness to his fallen foe, Muhammad ordered the killing of Uqba. This is how it is described by Ibn Ishaq: “When the apostle ordered him to be killed ‘Uqba said, ‘But who will look after my children, O Muhammad?’ ‘Hell’, he said, and ‘Asim b. Thabit b. Abul-Aqlah al-Ansari killed him according to what Abu ‘Ubayda b. Muhammad b. ‘Ammar b. Yasir told me.” Some biographers note that it was Ali who killed Uqba.




On the killing of those two prisoners, Rodinson[42] (Rodinson, p.168) writes, “On the other hand he gave free rein to his anger against two men who had attacked him on an intellectual level. They had studied Jewish and Persian sources and had asked him awkward questions. They had scoffed at him and his divine messages. They could look for no mercy.”




Two additional prisoners were also killed; they were: Naufal b. Khuweilid whom Ali killed and Mabad b. Wahb whom Umar beheaded. It is reported that the latter refused to accept his defeat and praised al-Lat and al-Uzza (two idols) in the presence of Muhammad.[43] The reason of killing Naufal is not known. So, in all, seven prisoners were slaughtered before the Muslim army, along with the rest of the prisoners arrived at Medina.




To spread the news of Muslim victory at Badr, Muhammad now dispatched Zayd b. Harith to Medina ahead of the arrival of the Muslim army contingent. When Zayd arrived at Medina, he heard the news of the death of Ruqayyah, Muhammad’s daughter. People were preparing the burial of her when Zayd arrived at Medina with the sweet news of Muslim’s triumph at Badr.




On the next day, Muhammad arrived at Medina with the war booty and received the sad news of the death and burial of his daughter Ruqyyah during his absence. As mentioned before, Ruqayyah’s husband, Uthman b. Affan, could not join in the plunder due to his wife’s illness. Nevertheless, Muhammad rewarded his mourning son-in-law in the equal share of the spoils.  A few months later, Uthman married Muhammad’s last unmarried daughter, Umm Kulthum, who was previously married to a son of Abu Lahab, then became separated from him. When the remaining people of Medina congratulated the Jihadists for their good catch, the Jihadists gloated over the slaughtering of the polytheists.  Many Jihadists even admitted that slaughtering the infidels was good fun.[44]




In the evening of next day, the rest of the Jihadists, along with the captives arrived at Medina. Watching the crestfallen, haggard, pitiful and depressed captives, many Medinites were sorrowful for them. After all, many of these manacled prisoners were their kith and kin, their own flesh and blood. A glimpse of this flow of compassion is observed from the sympathy that Muhammad’s second wife, Sauda showed to a prisoner. Sauda had gone to comfort the lamentation of a family member of Afra, a citizen of Medina who had lost two sons in Badr, as mentioned earlier. On her return, she found Abu Yazid Suhayl b. Amr, the brother of her late husband (i.e., her brother-in law), now a prisoner, standing by her house with his hands tied behind his neck. Sauda preferred that instead of being caught a captive by Muhammad, Abu Yazid should have chosen an honorable death. However, Muhammad admonished her for saying such words. Filled with pity and compassion, she wanted to loosen the captive’s bound hands. When she sought Muhammad’s approval, a stern Muhammad asked her not to do that. We also learn from her narration that during this period, the women of Arabia did not wear any veil (Hijab) and they were free to move on their own.[45] Her depiction of the fierce nature of Muhammad also exposes the myth that Muhammad’s relation with his wives was cordial and loving; for, Sauda clearly said that she was deeply scared of Muhammad. Here is her own words: “Suddenly the Prophet’s voice startled me: ‘Sauda would you stir up trouble against God and his apostle?’ I said, “By God, I could hardly contain myself when I saw Abu Yazid in this state and that is I said what I did.”’ [46]




Nonetheless, overall, the people of Medina treated the prisoners with some kindness. They were given food and shelter and were not tortured, though it is reported that Hazrat Umar wanted to pull out Suhayl’s (another prisoner) teeth by saying to the messenger of Allah: ‘Let me pull out Suhayl’s two front teeth; his tongue will stick out and he will never be able to speak against you.’[47]  But Muhammad objected to any such mutilation of the prisoners. The good treatment of the Meccan prisoners was also in the interest of their Muslim captors if they (the Muslims) wanted good ransoms from the captives’ relatives—they knew this truth. The Muslims were quite prudent on this and due to the kindness shown by the Muslims of Medina; a few of the poor prisoners accepted Islam and stayed in Medina, it is claimed. It is reported that when Muhammad ordered that all prisoners be fettered, al-Abbas, Muhammad’s uncle, was also chained. Muhammad had a sleepless night till his followers unchained al-Abbas.[48]




Once the euphoria of the victory of Muslim army was over, it was time to settle the affair of prisoners of war. As mentioned previously, right from the beginning the fanatic Jihadist, Sa’d b. Muadah was in favor of slaughtering all the captives that the Muslims had in their hands. Hazrat Umar also wanted to behead all the captives, suggesting that brother kill brother, and Abu Rawaha wanted to burn them alive. Muhammad was quite indecisive on this. At first, he too, wanted to kill the prisoners excepting a few. Abu Bakr suggested taking ransoms from them. Suddenly, Muhammad found some merit in what Abu Bakr had proposed. He found a good opportunity in raising money for his poverty-stricken followers. Immediately, he claimed that Allah (via Gabriel) had sent down verse 8:67, permitting him to take ransom after a wide slaughter, and verse 8:68, permitting him to enjoy booty. These two verses made a compromise between a complete annihilation of the captives and taking ransoms for their release.




Foremost in Muhammad’s mind was Abu al-Aas, his son-in-law, who, as written before, became a captive of the Muslims. When Muhammad’s eldest daughter Zaynab (i.e., Abu al-Aas’ wife who was living in Mecca), heard of her husband’s capture, she sent money and Khadijah’s (her mother, and Muhammad’s first wife) necklace as ransom for the release of her husband. At last, Muhammad’s heart was softened (albeit, a little bit) when he saw the necklace of his deceased wife, Khadijah. He was certainly concerned, thinking about Abu al-Aas and his daughter. Next morning, in his mosque, he sought the opinion of his Jihadist followers on this matter. They unanimously agreed that Abu al-Aas be set free without any ransom and be allowed to return to Mecca. Muhammad was greatly relieved and freed Abu al-Aas, but with the condition that upon his arrival at Mecca, Abu al-Aas must divorce Zaynab and send her to Medina to join her father. Abu al-Aas promised that he would let Zaynab return to Muhammad at Medina and, indeed, upon his arrival at Mecca, he did exactly what he promised. He made arrangements for Zaynab to leave Mecca. At that time, Hind (Abu Sufyan’s wife) was friendly with Zaynab. Despite the bitter enmity between Muhammad and Abu Sufyan, Hind volunteered to provide any material help that Zaynab needed to escape to her father. But Zaynab thought it was prudent to keep her plan of escape a secret. So, at an opportune time, Zaynab borrowed a camel to leave for Medina. Her brother-in-law accompanied her. Learning the departure of Zaynab, two Quraysh pursued Zaynab’s camel and caught up with her at Dhu Tuwa. One Quraysh, Habbar b. al-Aswad threatened her with a spear. Zaynab was pregnant at that time. It is reported that she fell down from the camel and had a miscarriage. Then Habbar tormented Zaynab, but Abu Sufyan intervened to let her escape from the harassment of Habbar. Abu Sufyan did not bear any vengeance whatsoever against Muhammad’s daughter Zaynab, and advised her to leave Mecca secretly. So, after a few days, when all the din and bustle of Badr had subsided, Zaynab surreptitiously escaped Mecca at night.




Next, to be decided was the fate of al-Abbas, Muhammad’s uncle. The Jihadists brought a naked al-Abbas in front of Muhammad. Muhammad at first, had to find some clothing for his undressed uncle. Here is the Hadith from Sahih Bukhari on this:




Volume 4, Book 52, Number 252: Narrated Jabir bin 'Abdullah:


When it was the day (of the battle) of Badr, prisoners of war were brought including Al-Abbas who was undressed. The Prophet looked for a shirt for him. It was found that the shirt of 'Abdullah bin Ubai would do, so the Prophet let him wear it. That was the reason why the Prophet took off and gave his own shirt to 'Abdullah. (The narrator adds, "He had done the Prophet some favor for which the Prophet liked to reward him.")


Because al-Abbas was a wealthy man Muhammad stipulated that al-Abbas should ransom himself as well as his nephews and his confederates. On this, al-Abbas claimed that he was a silent Muslim; that he was forced to fight against the Muslims. Muhammad still wanted ransom from al-Abbas. In fact, Muhammad owed a good amount of money to al-Abbas, but when al-Abbas insisted that that debt should be used as ransom, Muhammad declined. Such was the greed for money by the Prophet of mercy. In the end, Muhammad took 20 ounces of gold (about US$ 8,000 in to-day’s money) from al-Abbas for his release.




At first, the Quraysh played it cool in ransoming their captives so that the Muslims did not demand high prices for the release of them. Abu Sufyan refused to pay any ransom for his son ‘Amr. When a Muslim, Sa’d b. al-Numan, went to perform Umra, Abu Sufyan held him hostage in exchange for his son, Amr. Muhammad had no choice but to set free ‘Amr b. Abi Sufyan for the release of Sa’d. Muhammad insisted on a high ransom for a Meccan because his son was a rich merchant. The son paid a ransom of 4,000 Dirhams (please calculate in US$, using the conversion mentioned below) for his father’s release.




Overall, Muhammad received a large sum of money as a ransom for the Quraysh prisoners. The ransom money for a prisoner varied from one thousand Dirhams to as much as four thousand Dirhams. It is reported that the Quraysh paid 250,000 Dirhams [yes, a cool quarter of a million Dirhams; take out your calculator and estimate how much it is in to-day’s money; use the conversion of one Dirham = 1/10 Dinar; one Dinar = 4.235 grams of gold; and in case you have forgotten, one ounce = 32.1 grams] as ransom to free their kith and kin who were taken as prisoners at Badr II. The average ransom for a prisoner was four thousand (4,000) Dirhams.[49]  Sahih Bukhari states that besides booty and ransom money for the captives, each Jihadi received a pension of five thousand (5,000) Dirhams per year. Here is the Hadith from Sahih Bukhari:




Volume 5, Book 59, Number 357: Narrated Qais:


The Badr warriors were given five thousand (Dirhams) each, yearly. 'Umar said, "I will surely give them more than what I will give to others."


Some prisoners who did not have the means to pay a ransom volunteered to teach ten Muslim boys the skill of reading and writing for each such prisoner. When their tuition was complete, the prisoner was then released. Zayd ibn Thabit, the poet (later, Muhammad’s secretary) is said to have learned writing this way. This tells us that the Meccan people were, in general, literate while the Medina followers of Muhammad were mostly illiterate; still, the Muslims called the Meccans ‘ignorant’!




The victory at Badr opened a new chapter in the propagation of the nascent faith of Islam. Realizing the power of the sword, Muhammad was now convinced that for his fascistic doctrine to triumph, he must win militarily. Thus, from now on, sword became the language of Islam (observe the national flag of Saudi Arabia closely) and engaging in warfare for booty and captives became the modus operandi of the new Jihadists for their survival and material enrichment. Commenting on this, Maxine Rodinson[50] writes that the only motive for Badr II was booty. The victory at Badr became a rallying point for Muhammad’s religion, and to the disbelievers Islam now became associated with fear, terror, plunder and bloodshed. On the other hand, the Quraysh and the polytheists also recognized the need for a decisive military victory to contain the spread of menacing Islam.



Section Four




 ‘Defined in Psychological terms, a fanatic is a man who consciously overcompensates a secret doubt’---Aldous Huxley (1894-1963)[51]



Terror Ten




The Murder of Asma bt. Marwan at Medina by Umayr b. Adiy al-Khatmi —March, 624CE




Immediately after his return from the victory at Badr, Muhammad felt strong enough to put a halt to his critics who were displeased that his arrival at Medina, along with his horde of marauding Jihadists had caused fear and serious divisions among the Medinites. Many Jews were greatly disturbed at the prospect of a militarily strong army of the Muslims and feared that they might be Muhammad’s next victims, because they (the Jews) possessed great wealth. During those days, the most successful method of hurling epithets and criticisms to opponents was through poems. Therefore, poets in those days were what journalists are today. One such poetess was Asma bint Marwan. She belonged to the B. Aws and did not hide her dislike for Islam. She was married to Yazid b. Zayd, a man of Banu Khatma and had five sons and a suckling infant. Some authors suggest that her father was a Jew. After the Badr war, she composed some satirical poems. The verses spread from mouth to mouth and finally reached the ears of the Muslims and they were greatly offended. Muhammad could not at all endure satire or vituperation.[52] Therefore, an incensed Muhammad decided that it was time to get rid of her.




In his mosque, at night, Muhammad sought a volunteer to assassinate Asma bt. Marwan. A blind man, Umayr b. Adiy al-Khatmi, belonging to the same tribe as Asma’s husband (i.e., Banu Khatma) stood up to complete the job. In the dead of night he crept into her apartment. Her little children then surrounded Asma while she slept. Hugging her bosom was her infant, suckling her breast. The blind man, feeling stealthily with his hand, removed the infant from her breast and plunged his sword in her belly with such a force that it passed through her back. This severe blow killed Asma on the spot. It was just five days before the end of the month of the sacred month of fasting, Ramadan when Muslims are not supposed to shed blood.[53]




After murdering Asma, next morning, the killer Umayr went to pray in the mosque while Muhammad was there. Muhammad was quite anxious to learn if the mission of Umayr was a success or not. He said to Umayr, the killer “Have you slain the daughter of Marwan?’ Commenting on this Ibn S’ad[54] writes, “This was the word that was first heard from the Apostle of Allah, may Allah bless him.” When Umayr replied that the job had been carried out with success, Muhammad said, “You have helped God and His apostle, O ‘Umayr!’ When Umayr asked if he would have to bear any evil consequences, the apostle said, “Two goats won’t butt their heads about her.”[55] Muhammad then praised Umayr in front of all gathered for prayer for his act of murder, and Umayr went back to his people. (Note: Some biographers suggest that Umayr was Asma’s former husband). Five days later, the Muslims celebrated the first Eid (the end of fasting)!




When Umayr, the killer returned to Upper Medina, he passed the sons of Asma who were burying their slain mother. They accused Umayr of murder of their mother. Without hesitation, Umayr admitted the accusation boastfully and threatened to kill the whole family if they dared to repeat the lampoons that their mother had composed deriding the Prophet of mercy. This threat of terror worked wonderfully. The entire tribe of Asma’s husband (i.e., Banu Khatma) who secretly hated Islam, now openly professed their adherence, just to save their lives. Ibn Ishak writes, “That was the first day that Islam became powerful among B. Khatma. The day after Bint Marwan was killed the men of B. Khatma became Muslims because they saw the power of Islam”.[56]




Muhammad and his followers were now convinced that terror, plunder, political murder do, indeed, work for Islam.



Terror Eleven



The Murder of Abu Afak at Medina by Salim b. ‘Umayr—April, 624CE




Abu Afak, a Jew of Medina was a very old man, about 120 years old. He was active in the opposition of Muhammad’s religion. He too composed some satirical verses that annoyed the Muslims. One month after his victory at Badr, Muhammad showed his limit of tolerance to his intellectual opposition by expressing his wish to eliminate this old man. At his mosque, the apostle of Allah sought the service of a volunteer killer, saying, ‘Who will deal with this rascal for me?’[57]




A convert by the name of Salim b.‘Umayr, brother of B. ‘Amr b.’Auf from the B. Amr tribe came forward to do the job. He killed Abu Afak with one blow of his sword when the latter slept outside his house. (Some say that Abu Afak was murdered first then Asma). Ibn S’ad describes this gruesome murder in this way:




“He waited for an opportunity until a hot night came, and Abu ‘Afak slept in an open place. Salim b. ‘Umayr knew it, so he placed the sword on his liver and pressed it till it reached his bed. The enemy of Allah screamed and the people, who were his followers rushed him, took him to his house and interred him.”[58]




This perfidious murder alarmed all those in Medina who did not like Muhammad and his religion. The Jews were utterly terrified.



Terror Twelve




The Affair of al-Sawiq at Qarkarat al-Qudr by Muhammad—April, 624CE




This operation was a small reconnaissance by the Quraysh to gauge the strength and preparedness of Muhammad to launch further attacks on the Meccans. After suffering the ignominious defeat at Badr II at the hands of the emerging force of the Islamic Jihadists, Abu Sufyan b Harb, the Quraysh leader vowed not to touch women until he had destroyed the tribes of al-Aws and al-Khazraj.[59] He gathered two hundred mounted followers, took the eastern road through the Nejd and secretly arrived by night, at the settlement of B. Nadir, a Jewish tribe. However, the Jewish chief, Huwey refused him admission to the Jewish quarters. So, Abu Sufyan took refuge with Sallam b. Mishkan (also known as Abu Rafi), another leading man of B. Nadir Jews. Sallam offered Abu Sufyan’s party a hospitable welcome at night, furnishing Abu Sufyan with the intelligence regarding Medina. At dawn, Abu Sufyan moved forward stealthily and arrived at the corn fields and palm gardens of Urayd, a place about two or three miles to the north-east of Medina. He burnt these farms and killed two farmers there. Then he returned to Mecca. Meanwhile, the news spread in Medina and the Muslims were alarmed. Muhammad followed in hot pursuit the Abu Sufyan’s army and went as far as Qarkarat al-Qudr. However, it was a fruitless pursuit. The Muslims collected some of the provisions thrown away by the Quraysh men on their return journey to Mecca to lighten the burden on their horses. The Muslims brought back the provision that was mostly barley and as such, it is called the affair of Sawiq.



Terror Thirteen


Raid at Qarkarat al-Qudr Against the Ghatafan and Banu Sulaym led by Muhammad—May, 624CE




This expedition was taken against the nomad tribes of Sulaym and Ghatafan who inhabited the plains of Nejd, to the east of Medina. These tribes belonged to the same stock of the Quraysh and were probably incited by Abu Sufyan to commit a plunder upon Medina. Muhammad came to learn about this impending attack through intelligence. So, he hastened to surprise them. He took two hundred men and reached at Qarkarat al-Qudr but found the place deserted, except for a herd of five hundred camels under the charge of a single boy. Muhammad took the five hundred camels as booty[60] and divided them amongst his men, taking one-fifth for himself as per Islamic rule on plunder (How much one camel is worth? My guess is about US$ 300 each. So this plunder was about US$ 150,000). That meant, from this raid, he took one hundred camels (i.e., equivalent US$ 30,000) for himself. Other Jihadists received two camels each.[61] The camel boy was taken as a captive but was released after he accepted Islam. Muhammad, after leading this raid, stayed at Qarkarat al-Qudr for three nights and returned to Medina without any fight. After returning to Medina he accepted all ransoms for the Quraysh prisoners from Badr II war.[62]




This handsome ransom from the Quraysh captives and the camels from the Qarkarat al-Qudr plunder made him quite rich indeed in a very short time; thus alleviating, at least temporarily, his and his followers immediate pecuniary hardship. There was now a convincing reason to stick to Islam, if one wanted to benefit materially!




Nonetheless, this booty was not ample to satisfy the enormous appetite for wealth by the newly recruited Jihadists. Muhammad was now looking forward to a far more pelf that he knew very well that only the Jews in Medina could supply. Feeling a sense of physical strength from his fanatical followers, he was eagerly waiting for an opportunity to lay a siege on the Jews and grab their land and property. Very soon, such an opportunity came up.



Terror Fourteen




The Ethnic Cleansing of Banu Quaynuqa Jews from Medina by Muhammad—July, 624CE




As written previously, with the decisive victory at Badr II and after the assassination of most of his intellectual critics at Medina, Muhammad quickly realized that it was time to prove ‘might is right.’ He knew rather well, that the only people who stood, as a stumbling block on his dream of establishing his and his Allah’s authority in Medina were the Jews. These Jews were mostly successful owners of orchards on the outskirts of Medina. Many of them were artisans, craftsmen, jewelers and merchants. They were a wealthy, prosperous community, living in their fortified quarters on the suburbs of Medina in harmony with the populace of Medina city. The most prominent among these Jews were the Banu Quaynuqa, Banu Nadir and Banu Qurayza. When Muhammad migrated to Medina these Jewish clans made a covenant with him to live in tranquility and harmony and to aid him, should any attack fell on him. Nonetheless, his victory at Badr II and his brutal killing of many Meccan polytheists unnerved the Jews and they feared an attack on them any time soon. They were absolutely correct. Muhammad was now in a mood to renounce all his treaties with the Jews and conduct plunder on them, to siege their fertile, productive land and their exquisite wealth. In fact, Gabriel brought the decree (8:58) from Allah that he (Muhammad) was free to break treaty with the Jews. With Allah on his side, Muhammad started to threaten the B. Qaynuqa Jews with the consequence of Badr II unless they accepted Islam. B. Qaynuqa Jews were the weakest of all the Jewish tribes in Medina.[63] This is what the prophet of ‘religious tolerance’ told the B. Qaynuqa Jews in their market:




“O Jews, beware lest God bring on you the like of the retribution which he brought on Quraysh. Accept Islam, for you know that I am a prophet sent by God. You will find this in your scriptures and in God’s covenant with you.”[64]




Hearing Muhammad’s harangue, the B. Qaynuqa Jews retaliated by ignoring his plea for Islam and challenged Muhammad to face them militarily. This is what they replied to Muhammad:




“Muhammad, do you think that we are like your people? Do not be deluded by the fact that you met a people with no knowledge of war and that you made good use of your opportunity. By God, if you fight us you will know that we are real men!”[65]




Then Muhammad demanded Jizya tax from the Jews but the Jews disparaged Muhammad by saying that His Allah was poor. An angry Allah, in verse 3:181, immediately promised His retribution to the Jews.[66]




The show of defiance was a fatal error on the part of B. Qaynuqa; for, this display of insolence by the Jews was good enough reason for Muhammad and his over-eager, booty-hungry Jihadists to wait to conduct an attack on them. Allah also revealed verse 3:12, 13, assuring Muhammad of his victory against the Jews. In addition, the Muslims also complained of sowing discord between the B. Aws and B. Khazraj by the Jews by narrating the battle of Buath, in which these two tribes fought fiercely. It was during this time that Allah forbade, in verse 5:57, to engage in friendship by the Muslims with the Jews and the Christians.[67]  While this hostility between the Muslims and the Jews was simmering, an incident took place that gave Muhammad the opportunity he was patiently waiting to lay an attack on the Jews. The incident was as follows:




An Arab girl, married to a Muslim convert of Medina went to the Jewish shop of a goldsmith in the market place of Qaynuqa. While waiting for some ornaments, she sat down. A silly neighbor secretly pinned the lower hem of her skirt. When she arose, the awkward expose made everyone laugh. She screamed with shame. A passing Muslim witnessed the incident and killed the offending Jew. The brother of the Jew then killed the Muslim. The family of the murdered Muslim then appealed to the converts of Medina to take revenge.




 The skirmish now became general and Muhammad made no attempt to mitigate the situation, nor did he try to bring the offending parties to justice. He immediately gathered his followers under the white banner in the hand of Hamzah and marched forward to attack the Jewish tribe. The Jews took shelter in their fortified apartments. So, Muhammad laid a siege and a full blockade was imposed. The siege lasted for fifteen days. The Jews were expecting help from their Khazraj allies. But the help did not come. So, the desperate B. Qaynuqa Jews had no choice but to surrender to Muhammad. Their hands were tied behind their backs and preparations were made for their execution. At this time, Abd Allah ibn Ubayy, the Khazarite and a new convert to Islam (he was the nemesis of Muhammad at Medina, Muhammad calling him a hypocrite) intervened. He could not stand that his old faithful allies would be massacred in cold blood. He begged Muhammad for mercy, but Muhammad turned his face away. Abd Allah persisted. Finally, Muhammad yielded and let the prisoners escape execution. He then cursed the Jews and Abd Allah ibn Ubay with Allah’s punishment. Then Muhammad ordered the Jews of B. Qaynuqa to leave Medina within three days.[68] They were led to exile by Ubadah b. al-Samit ibn Samit, one of the Khazarite leaders to as far as Dhubab. Then the Jews proceeded to Wadi al-Qura. There they got assistance from the Jewish inhabitants with carriage until they reached Adriat, a territory in Syria where they settled permanently.




Thus, the B. Qaynuqa Jews surrendered their arms and jewel-making machinery and were exiled from Medina. In this connection, Tabari writes:[69] “Allah gave their property as booty to his Messenger and the Muslims. The Banu Qaynuqa did not have any land, as they were goldsmiths. The messenger of God took many weapons belonging to them and the tools of their trade”




Thanks to Allah’s permission for booty and plunder, Muhammad and the formerly indigent Muslims were really on their way to become wealthy residents of Medina.



Section Five




‘Fascism is a religion; the twentieth century will be known in history as the century of Fascism’---Benito Mussoline (1883-1945)[70]



Terror Fifteen




Raid on Ghatafan at Dhu Amarr in Nejd by Muhammad—June, 624CE




A month after the operation of al-Sawiq Muhammad learnt that some clans of the Ghatafan tribesmen had gathered troops at Dhu Amarr in Nejd with aggressive design. So, Muhammad led an expedition of four hundred and fifty fighters[71] to search out the enemy and disperse them. This was the largest military exercise led by Muhammad prior to the battle of Uhud.[72] However, the enemy got wind of Muhammad’s departure and took to hiding. Muhammad’s army was able to capture one man who gave information about the Ghatafan’s hideout; the Jihadists proceeded to capture them. The captured man was forced to convert to Islam and Muhammad used him as a guide. The enemy soon heard of Muhammad’s approach and they took sanctuary on the tops of hills. No fighting took place. Muhammad spent eleven days on this expedition and then returned to Medina. Ibn Sa’d reports that a man threatened to kill Muhammad when he (Muhammad) was sleeping and Allah revealed verse 5:11 when he was unsuccessful, as Muhammad sought the protection of Allah.[73]



Terror Sixteen




Second Raid on Banu Sulaym at al-Qudr in Buhran by Muhammad—July, 624CE




Soon after the expulsion of B. Qaynuqa Jews from Medina, Muhammad heard that a great force of Banu Sulaym tribesmen from Buhran in al-Qudr was advancing on Medina. The call for Jihad went out once again, and soon a Muslim army of between three hundred to three hundred and fifty men marched out to attack the B. Sulaym at Buhran. Muhammad failed to track them, and when he arrived there, he found that the enemy had broken up. So, after staying there for three nights (or ten nights, as per Ibn Sa’d[74]) he returned without meeting the enemy. After returning to Medina he accepted all ransoms for the Quraysh prisoners captured during Badr II war.[75]



Terror Seventeen



The Murder of Ka’b b. Ashraf at Medina by Muhammad b. Maslama—August, 624CE




Ka’b, a poet was the son of a Jewess of B. Nadir. He was greatly saddened by the victory of Muslims at Badr II. He made no attempt to conceal his discontent on the sudden ascent of Muslim power in Medina. He went to Mecca, and through his poetry, enticed the Quraysh for revenge. On his return, he further angered the Muslims by composing lampoons against Muslim women. Muhammad was greatly distressed that this kind of free expression might subdue the morale of his followers. He prayed to Allah for the destruction of Ka’b. Allah, in verse 4:52 also cursed those who dared to criticize Muhammad. In his mosque, he requested for volunteers to get rid of Ka’b b. Ashraf. Muhammad b. Maslama, belonging to B. Aws stood up and vowed to slay Ka’b b. Ashraf. He chose four other men from B. Aws as his accomplices. When the leader of this assassination squad told Muhammad that to murder Ka’b they might have to resort to deceit and to tell lies, Muhammad unhesitatingly permitted them to do so (read the Hadith quoted below).




The murder team drew up an elaborate plan to dupe Ka’b b. Ashraf with sweet words and deceitful promises. They engaged Abu Naila, the foster brother of Ka’b b. Ashraf for this purpose. Abu Naila went to Ka’b pretending to borrow some money from him and talked bad about Muhammad, the Prophet. Ka’b believed him and demanded some security for the loan. Abu Naila agreed that they would pledge their arms, and an appointment for a late hour meeting at the house of Ka’b was organized. In the evening the band of conspirators assembled at the house of Muhammad, the Prophet. The Prophet accompanied them to the outskirts of the town. They took refuge in the low shrubs of the Muslim burial ground. The Prophet then parted, giving them blessing for the success of their mission. The killing team proceeded and arrived at Ka’b’s house. Ka’b was then taking rest in his bedroom with his newly married bride. Abu Naila, his foster brother called out for him to come down. When Ka’b hastened to climb down, his wife caught him by his blanket and wanted him not to go. Ka’b comforted her by saying that it was his foster brother. He came down and was not alarmed as he found his callers were not armed. They then wandered along, conversing on the misfortunes of Medina since the arrival of Muhammad till they reached a waterfall. Ka’b’s foster brother found some sweet smell in Ka’b’s hair and Ka’b told him that it was the smell from his newly married bride. Suddenly, the traitor seized Ka’b’s hair, and dragging him to the ground shouting, ‘’Slay him! Slay the enemy of God.” All other conspirators then struck their swords on Ka’b while he died making a fearful scream. His assassins then cut off Ka’b’s head and fled in haste. When they arrived at the burial ground, they chanted the Takbir (ie Allahu Akbar). Muahammad heard the Takbir and knew that the work had been accomplished. At the gate of the mosque the Prophet welcomed the assassins and praised them for their victory. The perpetrators threw the head of Ka’b b Asharf before Muhammad. One of the assailants was wounded in the mission. The Prophet praised Allah for what had been done and comforted the wounded man.




Here is the Hadith from Sahih Bukhari detailing the murder of Ka’b al-Ashraf.




Volume 5, Book 59, Number 369: Narrated Jabir bin 'Abdullah:


Allah's Apostle said, "Who is willing to kill Ka'b bin Al-Ashraf who has hurt Allah and His Apostle?" Thereupon Muhammad bin Maslamaa got up saying, "O Allah's Apostle! Would you like that I kill him?" The Prophet said, "Yes," Muhammad bin Maslamaa said, "Then allow me to say a (false) thing (i.e. to deceive Ka’b). "The Prophet said, "You may say it." Then Muhammad bin Maslamaa went to Ka’b and said, "That man (i.e. Muhammad demands Sadaqa (i.e. Zakat) from us, and he has troubled us, and I have come to borrow something from you." On that, Ka’b said, "By Allah, you will get tired of him!" Muhammad bin Maslamaa said, "Now as we have followed him, we do not want to leave him unless and until we see how his end is going to be. Now we want you to lend us a camel load or two of food." (Some difference between narrators about a camel load or two.) Ka’b said, "Yes, (I will lend you), but you should mortgage something to me." Muhammad bin Mas-lama and his companion said, "What do you want?" Ka'b replied, "Mortgage your women to me." They said, "How can we mortgage our women to you and you are the most handsome of the 'Arabs?" Ka'b said, "Then mortgage your sons to me." They said, "How can we mortgage our sons to you? Later they would be abused by the people's saying that so-and-so has been mortgaged for a camel load of food. That would cause us great disgrace, but we will mortgage our arms to you." Muhammad bin Maslamaa and his companion promised Ka’b that Muhammad would return to him. He came to Ka’b at night along with Ka’b's foster brother, Abu Na'ila. Ka’b invited them to come into his fort, and then he went down to them. His wife asked him, "Where are you going at this time?" Ka’b replied, "None but Muhammad bin Maslamaa and my (foster) brother Abu Na'ila have come." His wife said, "I hear a voice as if dropping blood is from him, Ka'b said. "They are none but my brother Muhammad bin Maslamaa and my foster brother Abu Naila. A generous man should respond to a call at night even if invited to be killed." Muhammad bin Maslamaa went with two men. (Some narrators mention the men as 'Abu bin Jabr. Al Harith bin Aus and Abbad bin Bishr). So Muhammad bin Maslamaa went in together with two men, and sail to them, "When Ka'b comes, I will touch his hair and smell it, and when you see that I have got hold of his head, strip him. I will let you smell his head." Ka’b bin Al-Ashraf came down to them wrapped in his clothes, and diffusing perfume. Muhammad bin Maslamaa said. " have never smelt a better scent than this. Ka'b replied. "I have got the best 'Arab women who know how to use the high class of perfume." Muhammad bin Maslamaa requested Ka'b "Will you allow me to smell your head?" Ka'b said, "Yes." Muhammad smelt it and made his companions smell it as well. Then he requested Ka'b again, "Will you let me (smell your head)?" Ka'b said, "Yes." When Muhammad got a strong hold of him, he said (to his companions), "Get at him!" So they killed him and went to the Prophet and informed him. (Abu Rafi) was killed after Ka'b bin Al-Ashraf."


For further details on this gruesome murder consult Ibn Ishaq, p.368 or Tabari, vol.vii, pp.94-97




For further Hadith on Ka’b’s murder consult Sahhi Muslim, Book 19, Hadith number 4436



Terror Eighteen




The Murder of Ibn Sunyanah at Medina by Muhayyish b. Masud—July, 624CE




Ibn Sunyanah was a Jewish merchant who was friendly and helpful to many Muslim converts. But that friendliness of Ibn Sunaynah did not prevent some fanatic Jihadists to finish him off, just because he was a Jew. This was how it all started:




In the morning after the murder of Ka’b b. Ashraf, Muhammad gave a general permission to his followers to slay any Jew whom they might chance to meet. Tabari[76] describes this ordinance of gratuitous killing of any Jew thus:




The messenger of God said, “Whoever of the Jews falls into your hands, kill him.” So Muhayyish b. Masud fell upon Ibn Sunaynah, one of the Jewish merchants who was in close terms with them and used to trade with them, and killed him. Huwayyish b. Masud (his brother) at that time had not accepted Islam; he was older than Muhayysih, and when (the latter) killed (the Jew), he began beating him saying, “O enemy of God, have you killed him? By God you have made much fat in your belly from his wealth.” Muhayyish said, “I said to him, ‘By God, if he who commanded me to kill him had commanded me to kill you, I would have cut off your head.’” And, by God, that was the beginning of Huwayyish’s acceptance of Islam. He said, “If Muhammad had ordered you to kill me. You would have killed me?” and I replied, “Yes, by God, if he had ordered me to kill you I would have cut off your head.” “By God,” he said, “a faith which has brought you to this is indeed a marvel.” Then Huwayyisah accepted Islam.




In this connection the readers may wish to recall the beheading of Daniel Pearl, the WSJ journalist. The Islamic Jihadists killed him the moment he uttered that he was a Jew. These fanatics simply carried out what Muhammad had ordained them with respect to the Jews!


From the Sahih Hadith of Sunaan Abu Dawud, we read the following:




Book 19, Number 2996: Narrated Muhayyisah:


The Apostle of Allah (peace_be_upon_him) said: If you gain a victory over the men of Jews, kill them. So Muhayyisah jumped over Shubaybah, a man of the Jewish merchants. He had close relations with them. He then killed him. At that time Huwayyisah (brother of Muhayyisah) had not embraced Islam. He was older than Muhayyisah. When he killed him, Huwayyisah beat him and said: O enemy of Allah, I swear by Allah, you have a good deal of fat in your belly from his property.




Terror Nineteen




Plunder of a Quraysh Caravan at Nejd by Zayd b. Haritha—September, 624CE




The Meccans lived on trade; it was their life-blood, especially the trade with Syria. Their economy could not survive if the marauding gang of Muhammad cut off their trade route. The interminable attack by the fanatic Muslim Jihadists literally imposed a blockade on their trade that could very well soon destroy Mecca and Arabia—the Quraysh and the other Meccans were very quick to realise this truth. The experience of Badr II had taught them a good lesson, and they did not want a repeat of it any more. Therefore, they sought out a new trade route for their richly laden caravan, plying between Mecca and Syria. This alternative route was right through the middle of Nejd, across the desert and through Iraq. Although this was a lengthy and arduous journey, this course was thought to be safe from Muhammad’s hand.




Having decided on this alternative route, the Quraysh equipped a caravan to traverse the plain land of the central desert. Safwan headed the caravan. The caravan carried vessels and bars of silver. The guide was Furat b. Hayaan who claimed to be able to lead the caravan through a route unknown to Muhammad. Through intelligence however, Muhammad got wind of this caravan and immediately dispatched Zayd b.Haritha in pursuit of it. Zayd ibn Haritha was a freed slave of Muhammad and Muhammad adopted him as his son. Later, Muhammad married this adopted son’s wife Zaynab.This was the first expedition led by Zayd b. Haritha He was equipped with one hundred battle-hardened men. He trailed the caravan and made a sudden attack on it. It was a success. The leaders of the caravan fled and Zayd took the booty as well as two prisoners to Medina. The booty was valued at one hundred thousand (100,000) Dirhams (using the conversion rate provided previously convert this to equivalent US$ of today and you will be surprised). Muhammad kept for himself one-fifth (i.e., 20,000 Dirhams, definitely a lot of money during those days). All others received eight hundred Dirhams per soldier. Furat became a prisoner. The Muslims said, “If you accept Islam, the Messenger of God will not kill you.” He accepted Islam and was allowed to go free.[77]



Terror Twenty



The Murder of Abu Rafi at Khaybar by Abd Allah b. Unays---December, 624CE




Abu Rafi (he was also known as Sallam ibn Abul-Huqayq) was a compatriot of Ka’b b. al-Ashraf. He was a leader of the Khaybar Jews and lived in Hijaj.  Like Ka’b b. al-Ashraf, he lamented the coming of Muhammad in Medina and composed poems and satires to earn the ire of Muhammad. Muhammad was contemplating of eliminating Abu Rafi in the same manner as Ka’b, and was looking for volunteers to kill him. Soon this opportunity came to him on a golden platter.




We learnt in Terror 17 above that a death squad formed by the B. Aws people who murdered Ka’b b. al-Ashraf, the Jewish poet. When the Khazaraj people heard that al-Aws had killed Ka’b Ibn al-Ashraf, they wanted to match this killing by murdering another Jew, and Abu Rafi became their choice. Thus, a killing competition developed between the Aws and the Khazaraj. Soon they sought permission of Muhammad to kill Abu Rafi. Muhammad, of course, gladly approved their murder plan and gave them his blessing.




A five-member assassin squad was dispatched to finish off Abu Rafi. Muhammad selected Abd Allah b. Atik as the head of this assassin team. After the team arrived at Khaybar, they went to Abu Rafi’s house by night and went upstairs through a spiral stair and sought permission to enter Abu Rafi’s room. Abu Rafi’s wife came out and enquired about the purpose of their call. They pretended to be Arab traders. So she let them in. They entered his room and bolted the door. Abu Rafi’s wife gave a wild scream; they wanted to kill her too, but refrained from doing so when they remembered Muhammad’s injunction to not to kill a woman. On their threat, Abu Rafi’s wife had to keep her mouth shut while the assassins ran with open swords after their prey as Abu Rafi was still in his bed. Then Abdullah b. Unaya bore down and plunged his sword on the belly of Abu Rafi until it went right through him.




While escaping, Abd Allah b. Atik fell off the spiral stairway, bruising severely his leg. His comrades took him to a nearby water channel and treated him. The Jews made a futile search for the assassin of Abu Rafi and then returned to a dying Abu Rafi. To confirm Abu Rafi’s death, his killer, Abd Allah b. Unays set off and mingled with the bereaving crowd. Abu Rafi’s wife mentioned that she could recognize the voice of the assassin to be that of Abd Allah b. Atik but she was not certain that Abd Allah Atik would come from a far off place of Yathrib (Medina) to Khaybar to kill Abu Rafi. Then she announced the death of Abu Rafi. As per Abd Allah b. Atik, he had never heard any word more pleasing than the death of Abu Rafi. Once they were sure of their victim’s death, the perpetrators returned to Muhammad and each of them claimed to be the assassin of Abu Rafi. Muhammad asked them to bring their swords for examination. From the blood in the sword he declared that Abd Allah b. Unays had killed Abu Rafi (Sallam Ibn Abi al-Huqayq). On this murder, Muhammad said, “This sword of ‘Abd Allah b. Unays killed him. I can see the marks left by bones on it.”[78]




Hassan b. Thabit composed a poem glorifying the assassinations of Ka’b b. al-Ashraf and Sallam b. Abi al-Huqyaq (Abu Rafi).




The murder of Abu Rafi is recorded in Sahih Bukhari in Hadith 5.59.371




[Note: Some biographers mention that this murder took place just prior to Muhammad’s invasion on Khaybar]



Section Six




‘Young man smile in the face of death, for you are on your way to Heaven’---from a Manual of Terror[79]

Terror Twenty-one



The Battle of Uhud, Led by Muhammad—March, 625CE




The Quraysh resolutely decided to avenge their defeat at Badr II. The need for a decisive military victory against the menacing Islam and its diehard Jihadists became more urgent when Zayd b. Haritha plundered their rich caravan that took the new alternative route through Nejd (see terror 19, CH. 5). The Quraysh were now convinced that nothing could protect their lifeline (trade) from the pillage and terror of Muhammad. They alerted the neighboring tribes and sought to raise money to form a formidable military operation against Muhammad. Through contributions from different parts of Arabia they raised 250,000 Dirhams (besides the 250,000 Dirhams paid as ransom to secure the release of the Meccan prisoners from Muhammad) for the impending military expedition to avenge their defeat.[80] They also concluded alliances with other nearby Bedouin tribes. Besides this subscription from various sources, they also decided to use the entire profit from the caravan that escaped Badr II to use it to combat the terrorism of Muhammad. This profit was one thousand camels and fifty thousand Dinars (around US$ 550,000 in all, using the conversion rate mentioned earlier) in cash, a substantial amount of money in those days.[81] With such a handsome resource at their disposal, the Quraysh had no difficulty in organizing a formidable army of three thousand men, seven hundred of them were armored warriors and two hundred mounted cavalry, ready to fight the terror perpetrated by Muhammad and his fanatic followers. There was also a small band of fifty Medina citizens under Abu Amir, the Christian monk, who went over to Mecca after being disgusted at the enthusiastic reception of Muhammad at Medina. Besides these military personnel, a batch of fifteen Quraysh women in camel litters also joined the military operation. Their leader was Hind bt. Utbah, the wife of Abu Sufyan Shakhr b. Harb. At Badr II she had lost her father (Utba), uncle (Shaybah) and her son, Hanzala. She was particularly interested in going for the blood of Hamzah who had slain her father at Badr II. Now was the time for her to quench her thirst for revenge. She engaged an Abyssinian slave, Wahshi, possessing deadly javelin skill and belonging to Jubayr b. Mut’im to kill Hamza, promising Wahshi his freedom if he was successful in his mission.




It was twelve months since the Badr II and it was the month of Ramadan. The Quraysh remained steadfast in their revenge for the defeat at Badr II. Now was the time to put their threat into execution. They planned a grand attack on Muhammad. Rumor of this grand plan had been reaching Muhammad for some time through his informers at Mecca. He even received an oracle from Allah in 3:128 on this preparedness. This rumor was confirmed when Muhammad received a sealed letter from his uncle, al-Abbas while he (Muhammad) was at his mosque at Quba, a short distance from the city of Medina. A messenger from Mecca delivered the letter to Muhammad. The letter contained the information that the Quraysh, with three thousand soldiers were planning an attack on Muhammad. He kept the content of the letter a secret and immediately returned to Medina to concur with his advisors there. However, the news leaked out when the wife of Sa’d b Muadh, the Khazaraj leader, overheard the conversation between him and Muhammad. Soon, the news spread that an immediate attack was coming from the Quraysh.




In Mecca, the Quraysh were now fully ready to set out for a showdown with Muhammad. At last, near the end of Ramadan, the Quraysh army started their march with three thousand soldiers and with Abu Sufyan b. Harb as their general. The other chiefs of the Quraysh clans also accompanied the Meccan army.




After a march of ten or twelve days, the Meccan army, taking the usual route by the shore, arrived at Dhul Hulaifa, about five miles west of Medina. It is reported that while at al-Abwa, Hind bt. Utbah, Abu Sufyan’s wife suggested that they dig up the grave of Muhammad’s mother, but the Quraysh refrained from doing such a depravedact. It was Thursday morning, and after halting here for a while, the Quraysh army marched northward for a few miles, bypassing the city of Medina; instead, they proceeded about three miles further north and encamped at Uhud, a mountainous region with some wide plain space for the camel’s grazing. One may wonder why the Quraysh did not attack central Medina; they could have easily done so with much success and with plenty of booty. The reason is that the Quraysh were not at all interested in any sort of plunder or booty. In fact, they had no grudge against the general population of Medina; they were angry with only one person—their co-citizen, Muhammad, who had taken refuge there.[82] Soon after their arrival at the plains of Uhud, the Meccans cut down the luxuriant forest as feed for the horses and camels. They also set loose the camels and horses to graze. Then Friday came and it passed without any activity.




In Medina, Muhammad was kept appraisedof Meccan movements. A spy, Hobab ibn al Mundhir surveyed the Quraysh camp on Thursday and brought back the alarming estimate of the Quraysh army. Muhammad decided to keep that information a secret. The next day, Friday, Muhammad discussed with his people the course to be pursued. He had a bad dream the previous night and told the conclave of his Jihadists about the need of protection of Medina and himself. Due to his bad dream the previous night, a superstitious Muhammad was quite reluctant to go for the battle. At first, it was decided that the women and children of the suburbs and surrounding hamlets should be brought within the city. The enemy, if they approached should be met with arrows, stones and other missiles from the housetops. Abd Allah ibn Ubayy, Muhammad’s nemesis supported this proposal of defending the city of Medina should the Quraysh attackedit. But the young converts wanted to go out and fight the enemy in the field, as they did at Badr II. Young Jihadists who missed the Badr II and its booty were more enthusiastic in going out to fight the Quraysh. The picture of paradise hovered before their eyes as martyrs in Allah’s cause was just as the Quran had described it in 56:25-26.[83]Hamza was adamant, saying, “By Allah who has sent the Book down unto you, I will not taste food till I fight them with my sword outside Medina.”[84] Many people supported this young faction. In the end, Muhammad gave way to them, commanding them to make ready for the battle.




After the afternoon prayer, the people assembled in the court of the mosque armed for the battle. Muhammad himself put on two armors, one on top of another. When a few young Jihadists found that Muhammad had quite reluctantly agreed to proceed for the battle, they became repentant and wanted to abort the mission. On this, Muhammad said,[85] “It does not suit a Prophet that once he had put on armor. He should take it off until Allah has decided between him and the enemy.” Some people hesitated but Muhammad kept going. Muhammad’s child-bride, Aisha also volunteered to join the Jihad and he allowed her.[86] Aisha nursed the wounded, brought water to the thirsty and rendered sundry services.[87]




Then the Muslims fixed three banners on the three lances. One for the refugees, carried by Musab b. Umayr (some say, Ali), the second, to the leader of B. Aws, Usayd ibn Hudayl, the third to a leader of B. Khazraj, al-Hubab ibn al-Mundhir. Abdallah ibn Umm Maktum was appointed to look after Medina city and to lead the prayer in the absence of Muhammad. The Muslim army consisted of one thousand men (one hundred of them were armored), and two horses (one belonging to Muhammad). Then Muhammad gave the orders for the march northward to the plains of Uhud. The two Sa’ds (Sa’d b. Muadh and Sa’d b. Ubadah) ran in front of the Muslim battalion.




Muhammad marched until he reached al-Shaykhayn and saw a well-equipped army waiting there. On enquiry, he learned that they were polytheists and Jews who were ready to join the Muslim army against the Meccans. They were the allies of Abd Allah ibn Ubay. Muhammad refused to accept them as his comrade, saying, “Do not seek support of the polytheists against polytheists.”[88]  Then he halted at al-Shaykhayn and reviewed his forces, rejecting those who were disabled or too young to fight. At nightfall, the Muslim army encamped there and Muhammad spent the night there. Abd Allah ibn Ubayy encamped nearby. He was displeased by the unfriendly behavior of Muhammad to his Jewish adherents. The Quraysh were also camped nearby. A ridge separated the two armies.




In the morning the Muslim army started marching again to Uhud. When they reachedat a place called Ash Shawt[89] they could observe the Quraysh army in the distance. It was at this place that Abd Allah ibn Ubayy rebelled against Muhammad, withdrew his three hundred men from the Muslim army and started departing for Medina thus reducing the number of Jihadists to around seven hundred men. Two other parties of Muhammad were also influenced by Abd Allah ibn Ubayy.  They were about to join him (Abd Allah ibn Ubayy), but at the eleventh hour, changed their minds and decided to remain with Muhammad. As revealed in 3:122 Muhammad claimed this change of heart to be Allah’s will. When Abd Allah ibn Ubay departed, another band of Muhammad’s followers went along with him, pleading Abd Allah ibn Ubayy to fight for the cause of Allah. But ibn Ubayy was adamant in returning to Medina, thus greatly displeasing the pleading clan. Allah, in verse 3:187 cursed the hypocrisy of Abd Allah ibn Ubayy. So, now Muhammad had to march alone with his seven hundred followers. Although he was quite near to Uhud, and could easily see the Quraysh encamped in the plains of Uhud, he found that it would not be safe to follow the main road to Uhud, because that would engage him to a full frontal confrontation with the enemy. Muhammad now sought the help of a local guide, Abu Khaitamah to reach the Uhud Mountain bypassing the frontal confrontation with the Quraysh. This guide took the Muslim army through a track that required the trespassing through farmland belonging to a blind man named Marba b Qyizi.  When the Jihadists wanted to pass through this farmland without the permission of the owner, the blind man protested by throwing dust on them and saying, “You may be the apostle of God, but I won’t let you through my garden. By God, Muhammad, if I could be sure that I should not hit someone else I would throw it in your face.” The Jihadists sought Muhammad’s permission to cut to pieces this blind man. Muhammad declined; but it was too late. A diehard Jihadist had already hit the blind man on his head with his sword that cut his head in to two pieces.[90] Such was the mercy of Allah’s soldiers!




Upon their arrival at Uhud, the Muslims camped at the base of the mountain and arranged their rank to face the Quraysh. Muhammad dispatched fifty archers to the hill of Aynayan that was opposite to the main Uhud mountain range to guard the rear of the Muslim army. He appointed Abd Allah ibn Jubayr as their leader and gave strict order to not to leave their position under any circumstances, whether victory or defeat, until they received the command from him. He issued further orders to not to engage the enemy until he gave instructions. Muhammad himself took up a position at an elevated place with plenty of arrows to shoot at the enemy. Sahih Bukhari states that Some Jihadists drank wine to imbue them further in Jihad. Here is the Sahih Hadith:




Volume 6, Book 60, Number 142: Narrated Jabir:




Some people drank alcoholic beverages in the morning (of the day) of the Uhud battle and on the same day they were killed as martyrs, and that was before wine was prohibited.




Muhammad exhorted the Jihadists to a frenzied spirit of war; gave his sword to one cavalier, Abu Dujana who was famous for his savagery and fanatic killing instinct. Then Muhammad sat down and began casting arrows. He was protected by a band of Jihadists who ensured that any attack from behind would be repulsed immediately. However, his elite core of companions (like Abu Bakr, Ali, Hamzah, Umar and others) were dispatched to lead the Muslim soldiers for a fierce combat. Muhammad then waited for enemy’s approach. At this time, Abu Sufyan b. Harb, the leader of the Quraysh army brought his army, and facing Uhud, marshaled them in front of Muhammad. Khalid b. al-Walid commanded the right wing, while Ikrimah b. Abu Jahl commanded the left wing, with Abu Sufyan in command of the middle front. The women, at first, kept to the front sounding their tumbrels and martial verses; but as the line advanced, they fell to the rear.




The Meccan banner was borne by Talha ibn Abi Talhah. He belonged to the Quryash clan of Abdud Dar whose duty it was to carry the banner of the Qurayshduring war. It was Saturday, Shawwal 7, AH3 corresponding to March 23, 625. The two armies were now poised to ignite the fire.




Before the battle started, Abu Sufyan sent a message of peace to the men of al-Aws and al-Khazaraj, asking them to leave the matter of battle among the cousins (i.e., among the Quraysh) only. He did not want to have a war with al-Aws and al-Khazraj. But al-Aws and al-Khazraj turned down his peace offer. Thus, a ferocious showdown became inevitable.




The first person from the Quraysh to start the single combat was Abu Amir  (Muhammad used to call him al-Fasiq—the evildoer) with a party of fifty of his people. They exchanged stone-throwing with the Muslims. This continued till the Muslims gained an upper hand, and Abu Amir and his companions turned back To keep the fervor of fighting spirit intact, the Quraysh women came out marching, beating cymbals, drums and tambourines and singing patriotic songs. In the next stage of fighting, it was mainly single combat, following the Arab customary start of a battle.[91]  Talha ibn Abu Talhah strode forward with the Quraysh standard; Az- Zubair b. al-Awwam (some say Ali ibn Talib) met him and killed him. On hearing the death of the first standard bearer of the Quraysh, Muhammad rejoiced with Takbir (Allahu Akbar) and said, “Every Prophet has a disciple and my disciple is Az Zubair,”[92] thus guaranteeing Az Zubair a place in paradise, whether alive or dead in the Jihad. 




After the death of Talhah, his brother Abu Shaybah Uthman b. Abi Talhah took over the Quraysh standard reciting enticing verses. Hamzah attacked him with his sword, cutting his hand and shoulder and exposing his lung. Soon Abu Shaybah Uthman was killed. Then, his brother, Abu Sa’d b. Abi Talhah took over the Quraysh flag and Asim b. Thabit killed him. In this way, seven members from the same family were killed. They were: Talhah, his brothers, Shaybah and Abu Sa’d; Talha’s four sons, viz. Musafi, Al-Harith, Kilab and Julas. When Musafi’s mother learnt the killing of her two sons in the hands of Asim b. Thabit she vowed to avenge their death by drinking wine from Asim’s skull.[93]




The slaughter continued and the Quraysh grew desperate. When all the brave brothers and sons of Talhah were slain, Artat Shurahbil raised the flag of the Quaryshand an unknown Jihadist killed him. The Quraysh standard then went to the hand of Shurayh b. Qariz and then to his slave Su’ab; the Muslims killed both of them. Thus, ten Quraysh laid down their lives to keep the Quraysh standard aloft. The Quraysh flag lay on the ground with no one to raise it. The front line of the Quraysh was now broken; panic and terror struck their minds and they took to the flight. They realized that it was a mistake on their part to engage the Muslims in single combat. However, it was too late. Hanzala b. Abu Amir (the Christian monk’s Muslim son) dueled with Abu Sufyan and was about to kill him when Shaddad b. al-Aswad struck Hanzala b. Amir and killed him.[94] This was what Abu Sufyan b. Harb later recalled in a poetic verse as ‘Hanzala for Hanzala.’ (Remember? Abu Sufyan’s son Hanzala was killed by the Muslims at Badr II).




As soon as the Quraysh realized their folly in engaging the Muslim Jihadists in single combat they launched a general engagement. In the beginning, with the fierce attack from the Muslims, the Qurayshbegan to waver. Each time they moved forward, the archers, protecting the rear of the Muslim army in the neighboring hillock pushed them back. The Meccan army was about to lose heart. Abu Dujana, with the sword given by Muhammad, Hamza and Ali fought valiantly. They killed a number of Quraysh unbelievers. The Quraysh, became desperate and started to flee the battle leaving their standard lying on the ground and no one to carry it. Thus ended the first phase of the Uhud battle.




The Muslim army, sensing the nervousness of the Quraysh, without any delay, started collecting booty. Their cupidity for booty was so intense that when the Muslim archers saw from the hilltop afar their compatriots engaged in plunder, they simply deserted their positions and joined in the rush for the loot. Only ten archers, with their leader Abd Allah ibn Jubayrremained in their position as directed by Muhammad. The rest could not care less about Muhammad’s instruction; booty became their supreme goal. Here is a summary of what Tabari wrote about the Jihadists desire for booty:[95]




When the Jihadists, guarding the rear of Muslim soldiers saw the Quraysh and their women fleeing and saw the booty they became hungry for spoils and said, “Let us go to the Messenger of God and get the booty before the others beat us to it.” Another group wanted to obey the order of Muhammad and leave their positions. On this altercation between the two groups God revealed, “Whoso desireth….the Hereafter (3:145).




Witnessing the greed for booty, Ibn Masud said, “I never realized that any of the Prophet’s companions desired the world and its goods until that day.” This uncontrolled greed for booty by the Jihadists provided Khaild b. Walid, the commander of the Quraysh cavalry to charge the booty-drunken Muslims from behind and to change the tide of war. He soon made a vicious attack on the remaining archers, killing all of them, including their leader Abd Allah ibn Jubayr. Khalid b. Walid was followed by Ikrimah b Abu Hakam (Abu Jahl’s son; Abu Jahl was brutally murdered in Badr II). It is claimed that the angels were present but they did not fight for the Muslims.[96]  It is it clear why the angels were reluctant to help the soldiers of Allah. When the Muslim ranks were broken and forced back, Muhammad tried to resume the flight. He gave a call to continue fighting in the name of the apostle of Allah. But his call remained largely unheeded and the retreat continued unabated. The enemy soon came closer to Muhammad. A party of diehard devotees then rallied around his person. It was impossible for Muhammad to escape. While this confusion was raging, a rumor, that Muhammad had been killed, broke the backbone of the Muslim army. Muhammad’s biographers often provide conflicting and confusing account of this episode of the Uhud battle. Here is what I understood after consulting a few versions of this story:




Watching the quick change of fortune in the war front and the Muslim’s disunity, the Quraysh soon regained their spirit and returned to fight. A Quraysh woman, Umrah bt. Alqamah Al-Harithya lifted the lying standard on the ground. This time, the Quraysh had a decisive upper hand in the fight. They gathered together and started searching for Muhammad.




A band of Quraysh army, after killing the archers, pursued Muhammad and his bodyguards. At that time most of the Jihadists were busying themselves with the plunder. Only a small group of nine Jihadists were protecting Muhammad, seven of them were Ansars (helpers) and two were Muhajirs (immigrants). A part of Khalid’s army, led by ibn Qamia started hurling stones at this little group protecting Muhammad. One of these stones hit Muhammad’s mouth injuring his lower right incisor and rupturing his lower lip. Another sword-attack from Utbah b. Abi Waqqas (the brother of Sa’d b. Abi Waqqas, a Muslim), a Quraysh injured his forehead and shoulder causing severe bleeding.




The Meccans attack on the Muslims from behind put them to flight. They (the Meccans) killed many Muslims. Some Muslims were gravely wounded; many started to flee the battle. With a wounded person and a wounded heart Muhammad called on his followers to fight on, but no one was listening to him. Then Allahsent the oracle in verse 3:128, “It is no concern at all of thee (Muhammad), whether He relent toward them or punish them: for they are evildoers.”  A helpless Muhammad then cried out, “Who will sell his life for us?” Hearing his desperate call, Ziyad b. al-Sakani (or Umarah b. Ziyad al-Sakani), along with other five Jihadists, came forward to protect Muhammad. They were killed one after another in front of him until only Ziyad b. al-Sakani was left.[97]




It is reported[98] that Hatib b. Baltah followed Utbah b. Abi Waqqas and killed him, although it was the great desire of Sa’d b. Abi Waqqas  to kill his own brother (Utbah). While the attack on Muhammad was not mortal (because Muhammad was wearing a double coat of arms), the blow was so heavy that it caused the two rings in his helmet to penetrate his cheeks.  An injured Muhammad vehemently cursed the perpetrators. Initially those bodyguards fought with supreme bravery to protect Muhammad. But the Quraysh continued their foray of relentless attack on them—so much so,that they killed the seven ansars in no time. Only the two Muhajirs, namely, Talhah b. Ubaidullah and Sa’d b. Abi Waqqas, now protected Muhammad. In the short melee that ensued, the Quraysh seriously injured Talhah b. Ubaidullah. The standard bearer of the Muslims, Musab b. Umayr was nearby. It happened that he resembled Muhammad in his appearance. Ibn Qamiah attacked him and killed him. Thinking that he had killed Muhammad, he started shouting at the top of his voice, “Muhammad has been killed.” Hearing this terrible news, the Muslim’s rank fell in disorder; confusion raged and they started fighting each other. One such victim of this internecine was the father of Hudhayfa, Al-Yaman. When he saw his father about to be killed by another Muslim, he cried out, but to no avail. Hudhayfah later forgave his father’s killer and did not demand any blood money for the killing of his father. Many Muslims fled the battlefield and headed towards Medina. Some of them took their comrades’ corpses for burial at Medina. Some Muslims even tried to contact Abd Allah ibn Ubayy to strike a deal with the Quraysh, so that they would not be killed by them. But this attempt failed. Finding his position to be untenable and extremely vulnerable from further attack, Muhammad began to run for his life. A Jihadist, Ka’b b. Malik saw a fleeing Muhammad and rejoiced, crying loudly, “Allah’s messenger is alive.” An unnerved Muhammad asked Ka’b to keep his mouth shut; but the Quraysh had already heard that their bitterest enemy was still alive. One Quraysh, Ubay b. Khalaf rode to Muhammad in order to kill him. Muhammad took a spear from one of his companions and hurled it at Ubay b. Khalaf injuring him. Ubayy went back to the Quraysh with the injury in his throat and neck and said, “By God, Muhammad has killed me.” The Quraysh found nothing so seriously wrong with Ubayy. But Ubayy insisted that Muhammad’s curse had afflicted him. Ubayy b. Khalaf died of his wound at Sarif while returning to Mecca. It is stated that when the Quraysh saw Ubay b. Khalaf’s wound and told him that it was not very serious he refused to believe it, insisting that Muhammad had previously cursed him to death and as such he would surely die. While there is no evidence/record to suggest that Muhammad had killed any one with his own hand, Ibn Sa’d writes, “Ubayyi Ibn Khalaf al-Jumahi, whom the apostle of Allah, may Allah bless him, slew with his own hand …” [99]




While running in a hurry to save his own life, Muhammad fell into a ditch (some kind of booby-trap) that Abu Amir, the Christian monk had previously dug to trap Muslim soldiers. Now, hearing the joyful shout of Ka’b, about thirty of the Jihadists, including Muhammad’s hardcore companions like Abu Bakr, Ali, Umar etc. started approaching him. When they came near the ditch where Muhammad had fallen, they were greatly relieved to find him alive. Muhammad asked them not to make much noise but to proceed north and take sanctuary at one of the caves in the hillock. Ali put forth his hand towards Muhammad and lifted him up from the ditch. With a live Muhammad with them, his companions then started to proceed stealthily towards the hillock to take shelter there, to execute a planned withdrawal of the Muslim army and, most importantly, provide medical attention to Muhammad and his injured companions. It is reported that Aisha and a few other Muslimah joined Muhammad’s team. Fatima (Muhammad’s daughter) arrived at the scene of the battle and helped to dress the wound of her father. It took about a month for Muhammad’s wound to heal.




Hamza’s sister, Safiya also came up. She was fondly attached to Hamza, her brother.




The battle of Uhud also demonstrates the use of extreme vituperative and vulgar language, mostly by the Muslims. Here is a sample:




While such a grave predicament afflicted the Muslims, Hamzah was fighting gallantly killing a few Quraysh. The Abissiniyan slave, Wahsi (Remember? he was hired by Hind bt. Utbah to kill Hamzah) was watching him close by and took up a strategic position aiming his deadly spear at Hamzah. At this moment, Siba b. Abd al-Uzza al-Ghubshani (Abu Niyar) passed by Hamzah. Abu Niyar was the son of a female circumciser, Umm Ammar, a freed slave of Shariq b. Amr b. Wahb al-Thaqafi. So, Hamzah yelled at him, “Come over here, you son of a cutter-of clitorises.”[100]When, Wahsi, the slave of Jubayr b. Mutim saw Hamzah yelling at Abu Niyar, he (Wahsi) swiftly hurled his javelin at Hamzah that struck him before he could strike Abu Niyar. The javelin struck Hamzah in the lower part of the belly and came out between his legs. Hamzah died quickly and Wahsi recovered his javelin and returned to his camp, thus fulfilling his commitment of killing Hamzah. Hamzah’s body lay dead on the ground.




Thus, we note that FGM (Female Genital Mutilation) was quite prevalent among the Arabs in the days of Muhammad. Muhammad did not put any ban on this practice of mutilating female private organs.




As mentioned previously, after Muhammad was pulled up from the ditch, Abu Bakr, Umar, Ali and his other companions carried him to a cave nearby to provide medical attention and nursing. A Jihadist pulled out the ring that had penetrated inside Muhammad’s cheek, and while performing this primitive ‘surgery’, he broke Muhammad’s already injured incisor. Blood was oozing out from Muhammad’s wound in his face. Malik b. Sinan sucked out the blood and drank it.[101] On this, Muhammad said, “He whose blood mingles with mine will not be touched by the fire of hell.”[102] Abu Bakr, Umar, Ali and his other inner core of companions started comforting an injured Muhammad and the gravely wounded Talhah b. Ubaidullah. To those who spread the rumor of Muhammad’s death, Allah revealed the verse 3:144, “Muhammad is but a messenger, messengers (the like of whom) have passed away before him. Will it be that, when he dieth or is slain, ye will turn back on your heels! He who turneth back doth no hurt to Allah, and Allah will reward the thankful.”




The Jihadistssurrounding Muhammad became very tired and many of them fell asleep in the cave. In a short time, the Muslims finally retreated from the battle and took cover in the mountains of Uhud.




Meanwhile, after the Quraysh sensed that the Muslims had been defeated and they (the Muslims) had retreated to the mountainside, they came out in full force, many of them inspecting their fallen foes. This way, mid-day passed. After the mid-day, the Quraysh started looking for the body of Muhammad, and not finding it doubted his death.  Some of them engaged in mutilating the Muslim corpses. They cut off the ears and noses (even genitalia) of their victims and made necklaces from them. Hind bt Utbah became so obsessed with revenge that she not only wore some such necklaces and anklets but also proceeded to mutilate Hamzah’s corpse. She tore apart his stomach, took out the liver and chewed it but finding that not so palatable spat it out. Abu Sufyan denounced such a savage act of Hind.[103]




Then Abu Sufyan came very near to the snuggery where Muhammad and his companions were sheltered and enquired about who were inside the cave. No one replied back to him. At this, Abu Sufyan hubristically announced that the Quraysh had slain all the nobles of the Muslims, including Muhammad. Unable to bear such humiliation and insult, an angry Umar retorted back that all of them were alive, safe and sound including Muhammad. Though a little surprised, Abu Sufyan was reluctant to continue with further bloodshed and informed Umar that some Quraysh had indulged themselves in mutilating the Muslim corpses which he neither ordered nor disliked. He was satisfied that the death of his son Hanzalah b. Abu Sufyan in BadrII had been avenged. Abu Sufyan then issued a challenge to meet Muhammad again, next year at Badr. Muhammad accepted the challenge. After exalting Hubal (the biggest idol in Ka’ba) and Uzza (another idol at Nakha) for the victory, Abu Sufyan gave order to his soldiers to pack up and march for Mecca. At this, a defiant Muhammad proclaimed that Allah is the protector of the Jihadists.




Once Abu Sufyan was far off from the Muslim’s sanctuary, Muhammad instructed Ali to observe the departure of the Quraysh army. Ali reported back that the Quraysh rode their camels and led their horses. This news relieved Muhammad, because it was a sure sign that the Quraysh had, indeed, departed for Mecca and had no intention ofreturning to Uhud/Medina. Being reassured of no further attack from the Quraysh, Muhammad ordered his comrades to come out of their hideout. Thus the Muslims, once again, returned to the battlefield that was now strewn with the corpses of the Jihadists. It was a horrible sight, no doubt, and when Muhammad saw the mutilated body of Hamzah who was his uncle and foster brother, he was gravely saddened and started to weep. The sight of Hamzah’s corpse was so grotesque that Muhammad prevented his (Muhammad’s) aunt, Saffiya to visit her brother’s (Hamzah) dead body. But Saffiya refused and came and looked at the macabre scene of his brother lying on the ground with parts of his body missing or in tatter. But she was calm, composed, and supplicated Allah for the forgiveness of Hamzah. Muhammad ordered that Hamzah be buried with Abdullah ibn Jahsh, who was his (Hamzah’s) nephew. Subsequently, Hamzah was buried where he fell dead. Muhammad then vowed to take revenge by mutilating thirty Quraysh bodies for Hamza. Some say that he vowed for seventy. However, this mutilation practice was banned by a later revelation (16:126) in the Qur’an. Consequently, Muhammad banned the mutilation of dead bodies but announced: “A wounded Jihadi will be raised on the resurrection day with blood dripping from his wounds and the smell of the wound will be the smell of musk” [104] In addition to this, he also said: “God put the spirits of those killed in the Uhud in the crops of green birds and the Jihadists would like to come back from heaven and be killed again, again and again.”[105] A similar Hadith is narrated in Sunaan Abu Dawud:




Book 14, Number 2514: Narrated Abdullah ibn Abbas:


The Prophet (peace_be_upon_him) said: When your brethren were smitten at the battle of Uhud, Allah put their spirits in the crops of green birds which go down to the rivers of Paradise, eat its fruit and nestle in lamps of gold in the shade of the Throne. Then when they experienced the sweetness of their food, drink and rest, they asked: Who will tell our brethren about us that we are alive in Paradise provided with provision, in order that they might not be disinterested in jihad and recoil in war? Allah Most High said: I shall tell them about you; so Allah sent down; "And do not consider those who have been killed in Allah's path." till the end of the verse.


After burying their dead comrades, the Muslims, along with Muhammad, returned to Medina. While on his way to Medina, many people, especially women were extremely eager to learn about the fate of their dear and near ones. Muhammad had no choice but to tell them the heart-wrenching news of the death of their relations. When he passed by a settlement of Ansars, Muhammad heard the wailing of women for their dear ones. He himself wept but found no women to weep for Hamzah.When Sa’d b. Muadh heard of this, he ordered his women folks to weep for Hamzah, the uncle of Muhammad.




 In the evening of that day (Saturday, 7th of Shawal), Muhammad, along with the Muslim army returned to Medina. When Muhammad entered his family home he and Ali gave their swords to Fatima (Muhammad’s daughter and Ali’s wife) to wash off the blood from them.




It is reported that seventy Muslims were killed at the battle of Uhud. The Quraysh lost twenty-three men.[106]




There were a few accidental killing of Muslims by themselves. For instance, it was already mentioned that Husayl b. Jabir al-Yaman was killed by Muslims who could not recognize him. Muhammad paid his son Hudhayfah the blood money. Hudhayfah donated that money to the needy Muslims.




Hatib’s son Yazid was gravely injured and was comforted by other Muslims, for paradise was promised to a martyr. At this, Hatib was agitated and blamed the Muslims for misleading his son to death.




Another Muslim, Quzaman, fought valiantly, killing eight or nine polytheists and then was gravely injured. When people congratulated him for his valor, he simply expressed his great desire to fight for the honor of his own people. When the pain from his wound became very severe he committed suicide by slitting his wrist with an arrow. Muhammad was quite dissatisfied with Quzman, because he fought and died for National cause rather than Allah and his apostle’s causes. When Muhammad’s followers enquired about Quzman’s standing in the life hereafter, Muhammad replied, “He is an inhabitant of fire.”[107]




A Jew, Mukhayriq was also killed in Uhud. He fought for the Muslims and exhorted other Jews to fight alongside Muhammad. But most Jews did not join the battle on the plea of the Sabbath day. As his testimony, Muhammad called Mukhyaraq the best of Jews. Sahi Bukhari records that Muhammad’s wife, Aisha, and another woman, Umm Sulaim, (it is not clear if she was Muhammad’s wife or not), served water to the Muslim fighters in Uhud. Here is the Hadith:




Volume 4, Book 52, Number 131: Narrated Anas:




On the day (of the battle) of Uhad when (some) people retreated and left the Prophet, I saw 'Aisha bint Abu Bakr and Um Sulaim, with their robes tucked up so that the bangles around their ankles were visible hurrying with their water skins (in another narration it is said, "carrying the water skins on their backs"). Then they would pour the water in the mouths of the people, and return to fill the water skins again and came back again to pour water in the mouths of the people.




On the night of their return from Uhud, the Muslim army kept a sharp vigil on the city of Medina to prevent any intrusion from the Quraysh. Muhammad had a rather nightmarish night. For the whole of the night he thought over what had happened and what the future holds for him and his hordes of followers. The defeat at Uhud was an extremely painful blow tohim and his credibility as the messenger of Allah was now at stake—Muhammad was quick to understand this. He needed to be calm, cool, and collected,and must decide on a course of action to restore his lost credibility and the awe at which his followers looked at him To them, he was invincible and next to Allah—nothing can be further from this truth. Muhammad vowed that he must not lose this magical and hypnotic mob-power on his Jihadist followers. At the same time he was also alarmed that the Quraysharmy might return and inflict a sudden attack on Medina. The only choice for him was to go out, look for the whereabouts of the Quraysh army and scare (terrorize) them, somehow or other. He must cast terror on their hearts by whatever means he could muster—he knew this truth very well.


 the Meccan army at Hamra al-Asad, about eight (or ten, as per ibn S’ad) miles from Medina. Abu Sufyan had already come to learn about Muhammad’s venture to pursue the Meccans. The two spies heard the discussion among the Quraysh: whether they should go back and finish off the Muslims once and for all or to continue their journey to Mecca. Abu Sufyan was in favor of inflicting a deciding blow to the Muslims, but on the counseling of Safwan ibn Umayyah, he decided against it and, instead, proceeded towards Mecca. It happened just a day before the Muslim Jihadists arrived at Hamra al-Asad. Prior to their departure from Hamra al-Asad, the Quraysh spotted the two Muslim spies, caught them and killed them, leaving their corpses on the road. Nothing is known about the whereabouts of  the third Muslim sleuth. Presumably, he fled and returned to Muhammad.




The Jihadists, under the leadership of a bandaged Muhammad, went up to Hamra al-Asad, and found the two dead bodies of the spies that Muhammad had sent for intelligence on the Quraysh. Once Muhammad learned that the Quraysh were not there to attack him further, he felt elated and decided to spend three nights (or five, according to ibn Sa’d)-- until Wednesday, (March 25-27, 625) before returning to Medina. While recuperating at Hamra al-Asad from his battle wound suffered at Uhud, he ordered five hundred fires kindled on the adjoining heights, simply to send the Quraysh the strong message of his strength.




Further, while Muhammad was at Hamra al-Asad, he made an agreement with Mabad al-Khuzaah at Tihamah. Both the Muslims and the polytheists of Tihamah were trusted allies of Muhammad. They made a compact with Muhammad to not to conceal anything from him.




Then, Mabad went to Mecca; met with Abu Sufyan and talked falsely that Muhammad had gathered a great force to fight Abu Sufyan. At that time Abu Sufyan and his companions were planning a massive and decisive attack on Medina to finish off the Muslims once and for all. Hearing Mabad’s vein talk of a great military strength of Muhammad, Abu Sufyan retreated from his plan of an immediate attack on the Muslims.[109] Thus, Muhammad, once again, proved that the use of terror and deceit do indeed work for his cause.




After the demonstration of his mettle at Hamra al-Asad, Muhammad returned to Medina. One Quraysh soldier was loitering at Hamra al-Asad. He was the poet Abu Azzah al-Jumahi, a poor man with five daughters. He had just missed the Quraysh party. Previously, he was one of the prisoners of Badr II. As he was an indigent, having no means to pay ransom, he pleaded for his freedom. Muhammad released him freely on the condition that he would not take up arms against Muslims again. However, he was tempted by the Meccans to fight with the promise of a great reward of a win; or the maintenance of his five daughters in case of his being killed. After the Uhud battle when the Muslims caught this hapless destitute, he begged mercy from Muhammad, but Muhammad was not to be moved by pity or compassion; he ordered Abu Azzah’s killing, as he had broken his promise. Hazrat Ali personally killed him.[110]




Another Quraysh, while returning to Mecca lost his way and passed the night near Medina. Next morning, he went to the house of Uthman ibn Affan (Muhammad’s son-in law). Uthman procured for him, a grace period of three days, arranged a camel and provisions for his return journey to Mecca. Having made such arrangement, Uthman departed with Muhammad for Hamra-al-Asad. The unlucky Quraysh tarried and stayed in Medina until the last day of his term of grace. Muhammad, hearing about his delay by just one day, caught him and put him to death.




Al-Harith b. Suwayd was a hypocrite. He went to Uhud with Muslims but killed some Muslims. Then he fled to Mecca, to the Quraysh. After that, al-Harith sent his brother to Muhammad for his forgiveness, so that he could return to Medina. Muhammad allowed his return, but was undecided about his fate, preferring to make a decision after returning from Hamra al-Asad. On his hesitation Allah quickly sent the verse 3:86 indicating that those who reject faith after accepting it should be put to death




So, after returning to Medina, Muhammad ordered the execution of al-Harith b. Suwayd for the suspected murder of al- Mujaddzir of B. Aws. This incident (i.e., the alleged and unproven murder of al-Mujaddzir) happened nine or ten years ago. Muhammad gave order to Uthman b Affan , his son-in-law to cut off the head of al-Harith. 




Hazrat Uthman beheaded al-Harith  at the gate of the mosque, right in front of Muhammad.[111]




The success at Badr II was seen as a proof of Muhammad’s divine claim. Now, the defeat at Uhud was subversive to his prophetic claims. The Jews started broadcasting this argument. Muhammad was now deeply concerned to regain his reputation and to re-invigorate his followers. He started to preach that the defeat at Uhud was due to the hypocrites. He claimed that Allah, in the oracle of Sura 3 told this truth to him. Then he proceeded to sift the true believers from the hypocrites by blaming those who stayed at home and did not join the Jihad at Uhud. Arguing that even if he died, his cause remained, he promised future success to his believers if they remained steadfast and be courageous. The cause itself was immortal and divine-- he was absolutely adamant. This exhortation had its intended effect on the true Jihadists, and they were now reassured. He was satisfied that he could really make his gullible believers accept any postulation that he fancied them to accept as true.



Terror Twenty-three




The Plunder of B. Asad ibn Khuzaymahat Katan in Nejd by Abu Salma b. Abd al Asad al-Makhzumi —April, 625CE




Bani Asad ibn Khuzaymah, the resident of Katan, in the vicinity of Fayd, where there was a spring, was a powerful tribe connected with the Quraysh. They resided near the hill of Katan in the Nejd. Muhammad, purportedly, received intelligence reports that they were planning a raid on Medina. So, he dispatched a force of one hundred men underthe leadershipofAbu Salma b. Abd al Asad al-Makhzumi to make a sudden attack on this tribe. On the first day of Muharram,[112] while they were completely unprepared, Abd al-Asad, perpetrated an unprovoked terror raid  on them and took their booty.




However, this terror operation was not a huge success. When the Jihadists arrived at the site, the victims fled and the Muslims found three herdsmen with a large herd of camels and goats. They took the camels and goats as booty, and the three herdsmen as prisoners. Then the booty, along with the three captives was brought to Medina. Muhammad took one of the prisoners (presumably as a slave) for himself, distributed the camels and cattle among the Jihadists keeping his due share of the plunder. This success in plunder restored some of the Muslim prestige that had been lost at Uhud. Abu Salamah did not live long after this raid due to the inflammation of the wound he received at Uhud.




In this connection it may be appropriate to mention that, as per Islamic rule on plunder, all the immovable booty must be taken out and removed from the site of plunder. It s unlawful, according to Islamic rule, not to take possession of infidel wealth after a successful plunder. On the rule on Ghanimah, (plunder), the Dictionary of Islam writes, “If the Imam, or the leader of the Muslim army, conquer a country by force of arms, he is at liberty to leave the land in possession of the original proprietors, provided they pay tribute, or he may divide it amongst the Muslims; but with regard to moveable property, it is unlawful for him to leave it in possession of the infidels, but he must bring it away with the army and divide it amongst the soldiers.”[113]



Terror Twenty-four



The Assassination of Sufyan ibn Khalid, the B. Lihyan Chief at Urana (the first attack on B. Lihyan) by Abd Allah b. Unays—April, 625CE




B. Lihyan, a branch of the powerful tribe of Hudhayl (a section of the Quraysh), inhabited the vicinity of Mecca. When the terrors of Muhammad’s Jihadists became unbearable, they rallied around their chief, Khalid ibn Sufyan al-Hudhayli at Urana to follow up the late victory at Uhud.




Four days after the plunder at Katan (i.e., on the fifth day of Muharram) Muhammad learned that Sufyan b Khalid (or Khalid b. Sufyan, there is controversy on this) was collecting people at Nakhla to make an attack on him. So, he called Abdullah b. Unays to go to Nakhla or Urana on a mission to kill ibn Khalid. When Abdullah b. Unays wanted a description of his victim, Muhammad replied, “When you will see him, you will be frightened and bewildered and you will recall Satan.”[114] Abd Allah b. Unays said that he was not afraid of ibn Khalid; but to assassinate him, he (Abd Allah) would have to resort to lies and deceit. He sought Muhammad’s permission to tell lies, and to commit the act of deception. Muhammad unhesitatingly permitted him to do so.[115] Abd Allah b. Unays prayed to Allah before going on this murder mission. He spent almost eighteen days to find a way to infiltrate ibn Khalid’s newly recruited army. Then he found ibn Khalid in a halting place. When he met him, he bowed his head, pretending to be a respectful follower of ibn Khalid. When ibn Khalid asked about Abd Allah’s identity, Abd Allah said that he was an Arab and wanted to join as a volunteer in ibn Khalid’s force against Muhammad. Sufyan b. Khalid trusted him and provided him with shelter. Then, once, while conversing, Abd Allah b. Unays walked a short distance with ibn Khalid, and when an opportunity came he struck him with his sword and killed him. After killing ibn Khalid, he cut off his head, brought that to Muhammad, and while he (Muhammad) was at his mosque, threw the head of ibn Khalid at Muhammad’s feet. When he told Muhammad the details of his act of assassination, Muhammad praised him and gave him, as his reward, a stick as a sign between him and Abd Allah on the resurrection day. Abd Allah fastened the stick with his sword, and it remained with him until his death. When he died, the stick was buried with him.[116]




This assassination had the effect of silencing the Banu Lihyan, for some time. But another branch of B.Lihyan wanted to take revenge of the murder of their leader Sufyan ibn Khalid.



Terror Twenty-five




The Mishap at al-Rajii—May or July, 625CE




This is an important episode in the early history of Islam. In this episode of terror and murder we have a clear glimpse of a terribly violent society of the savage Bedouin Arabs. Spilling blood was almost a routine affair in that barbaric culture, no matter who initiated it or who was in the wrong or right. As you read this chilling episode of ‘peaceful’ Islam, recall the seemingly unstoppable violence that is perpetrated around the globe by the Islamic Jihadists. There are several versions of this story—making it difficult to ascertain its verity. Here is the version that I compiled, mainly from the version of Tabari and Ibn Ishaq. Variations are indicated with appropriate references.




Immediately after the Uhud battle, a group of men from Adal and al-Qarah came to Muhammad; requested him to send with them a few instructors to teach Islam to their people who had embraced Islam. Muhammad readily agreed to this, and promptly sent six men (or ten men as per Ibn Sa’d[117]) with them. In reality, those emissaries were sent by the B. Lihyan people who wanted to avenge the killing of their chief, Sufyan b. Khalid al-Hudhayli (refer to Terror 24). Those emissaries were paid agents of B. Lihyan. Among the six teachers of Islam selected by Muhammad was Asim b. Thabit, the brother of B. Amr b. Awf; Marthad b. Abi Marthad (or Asim b. Thabit as per Ibn Sa’d[118]) was appointed the head of this delegation.




When the Muslim party arrived at al-Raji, the delegation took rest for the night. The Adal and Qarah, in connivance with the Hudhayl, the owner of the watering place, made a completely surprise attack with swords on the six Muslims to extract money from them. They promised not to kill them, but to derive money as ransom. However, the Muslims refused to believe the promise of the polytheists and fought back. All the Muslims, except Zayd b. al-Dathinnah, Khubyab b. Adi and Abd Allah b. Tariq were killed. These three Muslims surrendered and were taken as prisoners to be sold in Mecca. After killing Asim b. Thabit, Hudhayl wanted to sell his head to Sulafah bt. Sad b. Shuhayd, for, she had vowed to drink from the skull of Asim b. Thabit. This was in retribution for the killing of her sons (remember? her two sons, Musafi and Julas were killed by Asim b. Thabit at Uhud) at Uhud. They could not cut off the head of Asim b. Thabit, as hornets (?) protected it and Allah sent a flood in the wadi that carried away Asim’s body!It is claimed that Asim vowed that no polytheist should ever touch his body nor would he touch any polytheist’s body.




When the party, along with the three captives arrived at al-Zahran, Abd Allah b. Tariq attempted to escape, but his captors killed him by stoning. The other two prisoners were taken to Mecca and sold there as slaves. Hujayr b. Abi Ihab bought Khubayb on behalf of Uqbah b. al-Harith, so that Uqbah can kill Khubyab in revenge for his father’s killing at Uhud. Safwan b. Umayyah bought Zayd b. al-Dathinah to be killed in revenge for the killing of his father Umayyah b. Khalaf in Badr II.




Islamic historian, such as Ibn Ishak claims that Khubyab was a trusty slave because he did not do any harm to a minor boy of the al-Harith family while the boy was with him and Khubayab had a blade with him to shave his hair. Later, the mother of the little boy vouched that she had never encountered a captive as virtuous as Khubyab. Of course, these are exaggerated stories that are better left for the readers to judge. Khubayb was kept in jail while waiting to be crucified and remained imprisoned until the sacred months had passed, and then the Quraysh killed him.[119]




During his execution time at Ka’ba, Khubyab presumably asked to be allowed to pray two prostrations. He was allowed to offer his prayer and this became the tradition for those Muslims who are about to be executed.




The prayer over, Abu Sirwaah b. al-Harith b. Amir took Khubyab out and beheaded him.




The other captive Zayd b. al-Dathinah was given to Safwan’s servant, Nastas for execution .Before the killing of Zayd b. al-Dathinah, Abu Sufyan wanted to spare his life in exchange for the life of Muhammad. But Zayd’s love for Muhammad was so great that he did not want Muhammad to be hurt even by a thorn prick. In the end, Nistas killed Zayd b.Dathinah.




Muhammad and the Muslim community were greatly saddened by the news of the death of those six Jihadists. Hassan ibn Thabit, the Muslim poet composed a poem in their memory. Muhammad was alarmed to fear the deterioration of Muslim prestige in case such events were to repeat. To counter such fear Allah promptly sent down His assurance in verse 2:204.




When the news of the kidnap and selling of those two slaves reached Muhammad, he immediately dispatched Abu Kurayb to the Quraysh as a spy. It is claimed that he untied Khubyab’s dead body from the cross. It is also claimed that the dead body of Khubyab fell on the ground and disappeared forever




Terror Twenty-six




Attempt on the Liife of Abu Sufyan b. Harb by ‘Amr b. Umayyah al-Damri—July, 625CE




After the killing of Khubayb (after the affair at al-Rajii) and his companion, Muhammad commissioned the service of Amr b. Umayyah al-Damri, a professional killer,[120]  along with an Ansar to murder Abu Sufyan b. Harb. It is also claimed that during this ruction Abu Sufyan also sent an assassin to kill Muhammad. The Muslims caught the assassin and he pleaded for his life. Muhammad forgave him and he embraced Islam.[121] But Muhammad wanted to take revenge on Abu Sufyan. So he sent out a two-man assassin squad led by the hired killer Amr b. Umayyah, having instructed Amr to kill Abu Sufyan stealthily when he (Abu Sufyan) is resting or retiring. These two desperado Jihadists set out, riding a camel. As per Tabari, the Ansar had a foot problem. They went riding the camel to the valley of Yajaj where they decided that Amr would go to Abu Sufyan’s house to assassinate him. If there was a commotion, or if there was any danger, then the Ansari would immediately return to Muhammad for reporting and further instructions. Amr’s mission to kill Abu Sufyan was not a success so he returned to his Ansari companion.




They entered Ka’ba and did the Hajj rituals. While exiting, a man (Muawiyah, as per Ibn Sa’d) recognised Amr b. Umaya and cried out; for, Amr was a violent and unruly fellow. So, the Ka’ba people got up to pursue Amr. Amr and his Ansari companion then took to the heel and climbed the mountain and went into a cave where they spent the night, thus eluding the Meccans. While they were in the cave, one Quraysh went there to cut grass for his donkey. He went to the very proximity of the cave, where Amr had taken sanctuary. Amr came out of his cave and stabbed the Quraysh for no reason. The Quraysh’s shrill voice attracted the attention of other Meccans searching for Amr. When the Meccans came to the rescue of the mortally wounded Qurasyh, he told them that Amr had stabbed him; then he died. The Meccans were so occupied with the dead Quraysh that they had no time to look for Amr. After two days of stay in the cave, Amr and his companion went out, and when they reached al-Tanim they found the cross of Khubayb. A guard was watching the cross. Apprehending that the Ansari man was frightened, Amr advised him to mount the camel, return to Muhammad and report the story to him. Amr alone went to the cross, untied the corpse of Khubyab and carried it on his back. But the Meccans soon found him out. So, Amr immediately threw down the corpse of Khubyab, ran for his life and took the road to al-Safra, managing to escape the Meccan chasers. His Ansari companion mounted the camel, returned to Muhammad and narrated him what had happened.




Amr continued on his foot until he came to another cave and took shelter there with his bows and arrows. A one-eyed man (a shepherd) of B. al-Dil came to this snuggery. Amr lied to him that he was a man from B. Bakr (Quraysh’s ally). The one-eyed man also admitted that he was from B. Bakr. Then the one-eyed man lay down beside Amr and sang a song indicating that he would never become a Muslim as long as he lived. This angered Amr and he waited to finish off the one-eyed shepherd. As soon as the shepherd (the one-eyed man) slept, Amr got up and killed the one-eyed man in the most a horrible way. He put the end of his arrow in his sound eye; bore it down until it was forced out at the back of his neck. After this gory killing of the Bedouin shepherd, Amr rushed out of the cave and ran to a nearby village, then to Rakubah and finally to al-Naqi. While there, he spotted two Meccan spies who were sent to watch on Muhammad. Amr asked them to surrender. One of them refused, so Amr killed him with his arrow. The other Meccan surrendered; Amr tied him up and took him to Muhammad.




When Amr returned to Muhammad with the Meccan prisoner, Muhammad blessed Amr for a job well done.




Terror Twenty-seven




The Affairs of Bir Maunah—July, 625CE




This episode is indeed a tragic one for the Muslims. It involved the slaying of forty (as per Ibn Ishaq) or seventy of Muslim missionary by the infidels. Nonetheless, when we review the past activities of what havoc and terror Muhammad perpetrated on those who did not believe in him, it is quite clear-cut to guess that Muhammad was simply asking for such retribution from his victims. After all, no sane person can remain sober and peaceful in the face of Muhammad’s unrelenting foray of terror, torture, political assassination, war mongering, highway robbery…etc. It was time for the infidels to get even and teach Muhammad a lesson that he had been asking for.




When I consulted several Islamic sources on the details of this episode, I found quite conflicting and confusing narrations. Here is the best way that I could summarize this important event of early Islam.




Four months after the Uhud battle, and following the return of the hired assassin Amr b. Umayyah, Abu Bara, the aged chief of the delegation of B. Amir b. Sasaah came to Muhammad and presented him with a gift. Abu Bara stayed in Medina. Muhammad declined to accept that gift because it was from a polytheist and asked Abu Bara to embrace Islam. Abu Bara declined, although he acknowledged certain good points of Islam. He requested Muhammad to send some Muslims to the people of Najd to call them to Islam. At first, Muhammad was quite apprehensive of this, as he feared that some harm might befall on these Muslim missionaries. On Muhammad’s hesitation, Abu Bara guaranteed the safety of the emissaries of Muhammad. So Muhammad sent forty Islamic preachers (some say seventy), making al-Mundhir b. Amr as the chief of this missionary team. It is claimed that they were the best of Muslims among Muhammad’s companions.




These new missionaries (expert Qur’an reciters) rode on horses until they arrived at the well of Bir Maunah. Bir Maunah lies between the territories of B. Amir and B. Sulaym. At Bir Maunah, the Muslims sent a messenger with a letter of Muhammad to Amir b. Tufayl, the cousin of Abu Bara and the chief of B. Amir. When the messenger met Amir b. Tufayl, the latter immediately killed him without even opening the letter of Muhammad. Amir b. Tufayl then requested the B. Amir people to help him fight the Muslims. They refused to entertain his request, as they were reluctant to betray the promise of safety by Abu Bara to the Muslims. So, Amir b. Tufayl took the help of B. Sulaym against the Muslims. Together, they attacked the Muslims. The Muslims fought back, but in the end, all of them were killed except for Ka’b b. Zayd. He was at the point of death when the enemy left him. He survived and somehow managed to return to Medina.




Sahih Bukhari records this incidence in this Hadith:




Volume 2, Book 16, Number 116: Narrated 'Asim:




I asked Anas bin Malik about the Qunut. Anas replied, "Definitely it was (recited)". I asked, "Before bowing or after it?" Anas replied, "Before bowing." I added, "So and so has told me that you had informed him that it had been after bowing." Anas said, "He told an untruth (i.e. "was mistaken," according to the Hijazi dialect). Allah's Apostle recited Qunut after bowing for a period of one month." Anas added, "The Prophet sent about seventy men (who knew the Quran by heart) towards the pagans (of Najd) who were less than they in number and there was a peace treaty between them and Allah's Apostles (but the Pagans broke the treaty and killed the seventy men). So Allah's Apostle recited Qunut for a period of one month asking Allah to punish them."




When the news of this massacre reached Muhammad, he was greatly grieved and sent Amr b. Umayyah (the professional killer, remember?) and an Aansar to investigate the whole matter. They approached the area and discovered the killing of the Muslims by the swirling vultures in the sky. They witnessed the Muslims lying in blood and their killers standing by. In anger they resorted to fight. The perpetrators killed the Ansar in no time and took Amr b. Umayyah as a prisoner. But soon he was released by Amir b. Tufayl due to distant kinship. Before releasing Amr, Amir cut off his forelock.




Upon his release from Amir b. Tufayl, Amr b. Umayyah traveled towards Medina. On his way he stopped at Qarkarat, an oasis where he met two men of B. Amir who halted next to Amr b. Umayyah. B. Amir had a treaty of protection with Muhammad that Amr b. Umayyah was unaware of. When they were asleep, Amr rushed and killed these two men of B. Amir thinking that he had taken his revenge. When Muhammad learned what Amr had done he told Amr that he (Muhammad) had to pay the blood money. Muhammad blamed the whole episode of slaughter to Abu Bara. When Abu Bara heard of what had previously been suspected, he was greatly remorseful at the betrayal of Amir b. Tufayl.




One may legitimately ask why only Muhammad had to pay blood money for the killing of the two people of B. Amir but he (Muhammad) received no blood money for the killing of the Muslim missionaries?  Tabari explains this seemingly confusing rule on blood money in a footnote.[122] He writes:




“Muhammad had to pay blood money for the murder of two men of b Amir because of the compact he had with them. He could not claim blood money for the Muslims as presumably the B. Sulaym killed them even if Amir b. Tufayl had asked the B. Sulaym to do so.”




On the slaying of Muslim missionaries, Hassan b. Thabit (Muhammad’s personal poet) composed a passionate poem on the sad demise of them and incited the sons of Abu Bara against Amir b. al-Tufayl. When Rabiah, the son of Abu Bara heard the words of Hassan b. Thabit, he attacked Amir b. al-Tufayl with his lance but failed to kill him. Amir put the blame on his uncle Abu Bara and vowed to take revenge either himself or by other people, should he die.




Naturally, Muhammad was extremely crestfallen at the Bir Maunah affair. His followers were deeply demoralized at this tragedy. To boost their morale Allah quickly sent down verse 3:169-173, in which He declared that the Jihadists do not die; they live, finding their sustenance with Him. It is said that Allah released another verse in which the slain Jihadists informed their people that they had met Allah; but the verse was, later, abrogated.[123] Mubarakpuri,[124] sourcing from Islamic authorities, quotes this abrogated verse thus: “Inform our people that we have met our Lord. He is pleased with us and He has made us pleased.” It is not known why Allah suddenly changed His mind and ostensibly abrogated this verse. Nowhere in the Qur’an the abrogation of any such verse is mentioned!


Muhammad now started a campaign to collect blood money from the Muslims and their Jewish allies. As the Jews were much wealthier than the Muslims, Muhammad devised a clever plan to extract this blood money from the Jews of B. Nadir, who were living in their sanctuary that was not very far off from the Muslims’ quarter. Muhammad had already made up his mind to expel this group of Jews and appropriate their land and property, to not only to pay blood money, but also to enrich his downhearted Jihadists who were absolutely dispirited at the tragedy of Bir Maunah. He had to do something urgently to placate and to lift their morale and to save his prestige and clout among his fanatic believers. His experience with B. Qaynuqa (read Terror 14) had already taught him how simple it was to terrorize an entire section of infidel population, steal their land and property with impunity and without the slightest of any compunction. Muhammad was now poised to use terror again to his full advantage.

Section Eight




‘One man’s faith is another man’s delusion’ ---Dr. Anthony Storr (1920-2001)



Terror Twenty-eight




The Ethnic Cleansing of B. Nadir Jews from Medina by Muhammad—July, 625CE




Bani Nadir Jews inhabited the fertile land in the vicinity of Medina. They were prosperous Jews, having vast tracts of land, on which they cultivated date palms. They were in confederation with the B. Amir people. As mentioned previously (CH. 7), Muhammad went to the Bani Nadir Jews to raise the blood money to be paid for the killing of two men of B. Amir, whom the professional killer, Amr b. Umayya al-Damri had killed by mistake.




So, Muhammad, with a few of his followers, including, Abu Bakr, Ali and Umar visited the village of B. Nadir, two or three miles away from Medina and requested the chief of B. Nadir to refund the blood money that he had already paid. The B. Nadir Jews received Muhammad courteously, asked him to sit down while they attentively listened to his demand and agreed to honor Muhammad’s request. Muhammad was quite unhappy when the B. Nadir readily agreed to his demand. In reality, he was expecting the B. Nadir Jews to reject his demand, so that he could have a good pretext to attack them and seize their land and property.[125]




After agreeing to Muhammad’s demand for blood money, the B. Nadir Jews went for a private discussion among themselves. This unnerved Muhammad. While he was sitting by the wall of a house, he thought that B. Nadir Jews were plotting to kill him. He claimed that B. Nadir Jews wanted to kill him by dropping a stone from top of the house. As usual, he pretended that Gabriel gave him this information.[126] So, he suddenly stood up and left the place, as if to answer the call of nature[127] asking others, including Abu Bakr, Umar and Ali not to leave the place until he returned. When his companions found that Muhammad’s return was very much delayed, they went out looking for him. On their way to Medina they met a man who told them he saw Muhammad was headed for Medina. When they met Muhammad at Medina, he told them his perception of treachery by B. Nadir and asked the Muslims to prepare to fight the B. Nadir.




With clear war and invasion of Jewish property in mind, Muhammad asked another of his professional assassins, Muhammad ibn Maslamah (remember? He murdered Ka’b b. Ashraf, see Terror 17, CH. 5) to go to the Banu Nadir Jews to announce to them the ultimatum to vacate Medina. He gave the Jews ten days to evacuate Medina and, if after this deadline any Jew was seen in the area, he would be killed---the ultimatum said. The B. Nadir Jews were startled with this sudden change of heart of Muhammad. They could not believe it coming from a person like Muhammad who claimed to be the messenger of Allah. They were more surprised that Muhammad ibn Maslamah, who was hitherto very much on friendly terms with the Jews had to serve them the ultimatum. When the B. Nadir Jews expressed their dismay at the action of Muhammad b. Maslamah, he  said, “ Hearts have changed, and Islam has wiped out the old covenants.”[128]




When Abd Allah ibn Ubayy learned about the precarious situation of the B. Nadir Jews, he sent the message to them that he himself would be coming to their assistance with two thousand Jewish and Arab fighters. But the Banu Nadir Jews recalled that the same person promised to help the Banu Qaynuqa Jews, but in the end, betrayed. So, the Banu Nadir Jews, at first, decided towards removing themselves to Khaybar or nearby. They thought that they could still come to Yathrib (Medina) to harvest their crops and then return to their fortresses at Khaybar. Huyayy ibn Akhtab, their leader finally resolved against this view. He decided to send a message to Muhammad, declining his order of expulsion,. entered in their fortified fortresses, stocked them with enough supplies to last up to a year and got ready to defend themselves. So, no Jew left Medina after the expiry of the ten days ultimatum. Muhammad now had the most legitimate reason to besiege the Jews.




Accordingly, when Muhammad ibn Maslamah returned to Medina with the news of the Jews, Muhammad, the Prophet immediately gave order to his fanatic Jihadists in his mosque to arm themselves and march forward to lay a siege on the fortresses of B. Nadir Jews. A band of Muslims, with Muhammad as their leader started marching against B. Nadir who had already taken shelter in their formidable fortresses.  In the beginning, the Jews attacked the Muslim besiegers with arrows and stones and held out gallantly. Although not unexpected, they were greatly disappointed when no help came from Abd Allah ibn Ubayy, nor from any other previously trusted sources. The siege lasted for fifteen or twenty days, and Muhammad became very impatient. At last, to hasten their surrender, Muhammad, in contravention of the revered laws of Arab warfare, cut down the surrounding date trees and burned them. When the Jews protested about the breaking of sacrosanct Arab laws on warfare, he demanded a special revelation from Allah (59:4) that was promptly sent down, sanctioning the destruction of enemy’s palm trees. In this verse Allah gave generous permission to the Muslims to cut down the palm trees: it was not a destruction but the vengeance from Allah, and to humble the evil doers[129]  that is to say, it is alright to cut down cultivated land and burn crops in a war. The Muslim poet (or the war correspondent of those days) Hassan b. Thabit enjoyed this gutting of the livelihood of the B. Nadir Jews and composed lyrics on this savage acts  of the Jihadists.. Here is a Hadith from Sahih Bukhari that describes Hassan’s mood :




Volume 3, Book 39, Number 519: Narrated 'Abdullah:


The Prophet got the date palm trees of the tribe of Bani-An-Nadir burnt and the trees cut down at a place called Al-Buwaira . Hassan bin Thabit said in a poetic verse: "The chiefs of Bani Lu'ai found it easy to watch fire spreading at Al-Buwaira."


After Muhammad destroyed their only source of livelihood, the B. Nadir found their case completely hopeless, and finding no other alternative, they decided to surrender and abandon their lands. In exchange for this, they wanted Muhammad to spare their lives, on which he agreed, on condition that they could only take those of their property that they could carry on their camels. He stipulated that the Jews must surrender their arms. They were allowed to carry whatever they could stock upon their camels. The Jews agreed to comply with those humiliating conditions, loaded six hundred camels with their goods and departed from their ancestral land with fanfare, din and alacrity. Some of them, with their chiefs Huyey, Sallam and Kinana went to Khaybar. The rest of them went to Jericho and the highlands of south Syria. Only two of them embraced Islam. They were given back their land and all of their properties.




[ Note: The Sharia Law (Islamic Law) on destruction of enemy properties states:


It is permissible in Jihad to cut down the enemy trees and destroy their dwellings.[130]




Once the expulsion of B. Nadir Jews was complete, Muhammad took over the ownership of their property making it his personal chattel that he could dispose of as he wished. He claimed that the spoils of B. Nadir belonged to Allah and to him[131]   exempting the land from the usual law of distribution of booty because it was gained without actually fighting. He divided the land according to his discretion, choosing the best lots for himself. With the exception of two Medina citizens (Ansar) the whole of B. Nadir lands were distributed among the refugees (Muhajirs). In this way the refugees became independent and affluent. Muhammad, Abu Bakr, Umar, Zubayr and the other chief companions of Muhammad acquired valuable estates. The other booty consisted of fifty armors coats, fifty stand of armor and three hundred and fifty swords. Thus, the expulsion of B. Nadir Jews was a great material success for Muhammad. An entire sura (Sura 59:al- Hashr) relates to the affair of B. Nadir, where Allah says that the B. Nadir Jews were subdued by the striking of terror in their hearts. Terror, duly sanctioned by Allah, thus became a legitimate weapon in the arsenal of Muhammad.




On the success of this terror and plunder, Hussain Haykal writes that this was the biggest prize to the Muslims. These booties were not divided among the Muslims as war booty. They were all considered as a trust which Muhammad divided among the early emigrants after putting away some for the purposes of the poor and the deprived. Thus, the necessary economic support of the Muhajirun by al-Ansar was alleviated for the first time. The Muhajirun now acquired as much wealth as their hosts. [132]




Continuing further, Hussain Haykal comments:




After the expulsion of the B. Nadir Jews, Muhammad distributed their lands to the Mohajirs and with this, they were quite satisfied with their new lands. The Ansars were equally happy that they no longer had to support the Mohajirs.[133]




In this way, Muhammad became quite a rich man in Medina and the migrant Muslims found a permanent means of their livelihood.




Until the exit of B.Nadir Jews from Medina, Muhammad’s secretary was a Jew. Muhammad chose him because of his ability to write letters in Hebrew and Syriac as well as in Arabic. After the evacuation of Banu Nadir Jews, Muhammad no longer trusted a non-Muslim to write his letters. So, he engaged Zayd ibn Thabit, a Medinese youth to learn the two languages, and appointed him as his secretary for all affairs. Zayd ibn Thabit also collected/compiled the Qur’an during the caliphate of Abu Bakr and Uthman.




Muhammad claimed that B. Nadir property was a special gift from Allah to him. He sold B. Nadir booty to purchase arms, horses, provision for his wives and used the B. Nadir property to support his wives. Here is a Hadith in support of the actions of Muhammad from Sahih Bukahri:




Volume 6, Book 60, Number 407: Narrated Umar:


The properties of Bam An-Nadir were among the booty that Allah gave to His Apostle such Booty were not obtained by any expedition on the part of Muslims, neither with cavalry, nor with camelry. So those properties were for Allah's Apostle only, and he used to provide thereof the yearly expenditure for his wives, and dedicate the rest of its revenues for purchasing arms and horses as war material to be used in Allah's Cause.


Here is another Hadith from Sunaan Abu Dawud about Muhammad’s exclusive rights on the annexed properties of B. Nadir, Fadak and Khaybar:


Book 19, Number 2961: Narrated Umar ibn al-Khattab:


Malik ibn Aws al-Hadthan said: One of the arguments put forward by Umar was that he said that the Apostle of Allah (peace_be_upon_him) received three things exclusively to himself: Banu an-Nadir, Khaybar and Fadak. The Banu an-Nadir property was kept wholly for his emergent needs, Fadak for travellers, and Khaybar was divided by the Apostle of Allah (peace_be_upon_him) into three sections: two for Muslims, and one as a contribution for his family. If anything remained after making the contribution of his family, he divided it among the poor Emigrants.


Once again, we note that terrorism had really paid a huge dividend to Muhammad and his horde of fanatic Jihadists.




Many Islamists often claim that ‘There is no compulsion in religion’ (2:256) to portray the religious freedom in Islam. However, they cleverly avoid the context of this verse. This verse relates to some Muslim children who were raised as Jews with the B. Nadir. This happened, because during those days, many Muslims who had difficulty in having children used to vow that if Allah gave them any child they would make that child a Jew and raise the child with the Jews. When Muhammad performed his ethnic cleansing on the Jews of B. Nadir, the Muslim parents of these children asked him about what should they do with their children. Muhammad permitted these children to remain Jews by saying ‘There should be no compulsion in religion.’ Therefore, the verse 2:256 has no relevance with religious freedom whatsoever.


Here is a Hadith from Sunaan Abu Dawud on this matter:




Book 14, Number 2676: Narrated Abdullah ibn Abbas:


When the children of a woman (in pre-Islamic days) did not survive, she took a vow on herself that if her child survives, she would convert it a Jew. When Banu an-Nadir were expelled (from Arabia), there were some children of the Ansar (Helpers) among them. They said: We shall not leave our children. So Allah the Exalted revealed; "Let there be no compulsion in religion. Truth stands out clear from error."


Terror Twenty-nine




Raid Against B. Ghatafan at Dhat al-Riqa by Muhammad—October, 625CE




After the expulsion of the B. Nadir Jews, Muhammad stayed in Medina for two months. Then he received the news that certain tribes of B. Ghatafan were assembling at Dhat al Riqa with suspicious purposes. The Ghatafan were an Arabian tribe, descended from Qais.[134] Muhammad, proceeding up to Nakhl led an expedition against the B. Muhamrib and the B. Thalabah, a sub-clan of the Ghatafan. This is called the expedition of Dhat al-Riqa’(the patchwork of mountain) because the mountain after which it was named had black, white and red patches on it. He made a surprise raid on them with four hundred (or seven hundred) men to disperse them. The Ghatafan fled to the mountains, leaving their women behind. No fighting took place but Muhammad attacked their habitations and carried all their women off including a very pretty girl.[135] When the prayer time came, the Muslims were terrified that the Ghatafan men might descend from their mountain hideout and make a sudden attack on them while they were praying. Apprehending this fear, Muhammad introduced the ‘service of prayer of danger.’ In this system, a party of faithful stands guard while the other party prays. Then they take turns. The public prayer is thus repeated twice. A revelation came from Allah on this provision (4:100-102) regarding shortening of a prayer.


While Muhammad was resting under the shade of a tree at Dhat al-Riqa, a polytheist man came to him with the intention of killing him. The man was playing with Muhammad’s sword and pointed it to Muhammad; asked him if he was afraid of him or not. Muhammad claimed that Allah would protect him and that he was not afraid at all. The would-be assassin then sheathed the sword and returned it to Muhammad. On this occasion Allah revealed verse 5:11, proclaiming His unflinchingprotection for Muhammad whenever someone stretches his hand out for his life. After fifteen days Muhammad returned to Medina. But he was not at peace; he apprehended that the B. Ghatafan might make a sudden attack to reclaim their women.




Surprisingly, the Sirah (biography of Muhammad) is completely silent about what happened to those captured women of Ghatafan. I searched most of the well-known Islamic sources, but they are as mute as a fish. However, if I have to go by the Islamic rules then I am pretty certain that those women were awarded to the Jihadists to be enjoyed or sold as slaves to raise money for war as per the booty rules




Terror Thirty




The Expedition for Badr III by Muhammad—January, 626CE




As per the appointment at Uhud (see Terror 21, CH. 6), the forces of Mecca and Medina were to meet again at Badr within a year. That time soon arrived. This was a year of great drought. Abu Sufyan b. Harb thought it to be unwise to set out for a war in this year of famine and desired that the appointment be deferred to a year of plenty. He sent an emissary, Nuaym, to Medina who exaggerated the preparation of the Meccans. Abu Sufyan did that hoping that this exaggeration might dissuade the Muslims who still had in mind, the terrible defeat at Uhud. The Quraysh, however, marched from Mecca with two thousand foot soldiers and fifty horses. Abu Sufyan went out of Mecca as far as Usfan, then decided to go back after two days of marching, because he could not find a good pasture, the year being a year of severe drought. The Meccan army was reduced to live on flour and water only. Hence this is also known as the expedition of Sawick (barley porridge).




The report of Nuaym greatly alarmed the Muslims of Medina. Many of them were reluctant to meet the formidable enemy again. But Muhammad decided to go forth. He gathered fifteen hundred men and prepared for the march to Badr. This was the third time that the two armies were presumably to meet at Badr. The Muslims arrived at Badr and encamped there for eight days. They carried a lot of wares with them in anticipation of a fair there. When they arrived at Badr they found no Quraysh army there. Muhammad waited for the rendezvous with Abu Sufyan b. Harb. When this did not materialise he met Makashi b. Amr al-Damri and expressed his intention of dissolving their treaty of peace, if B. Damri people desired. Actually, Muhammad wanted to wage a war on this tribal people as he felt he was strong enough to terrorize smaller tribes. But the Damri people decided to keep the treaty of peace with him.




The Muslim army bartered their wares, made good profit and returned to Medina. Muhammad was much pleased with this expedition and took that as a sign of Allah. He received the revelation 3:172-175 regarding Satan casting fear in the mind of Muhammad.




When the Quraysh heard of Muhammad’s rejoice, they were greatly mortified, fearing further terrorism from him. They began to plan another grand attack against Muhammad. It took them a year to plan and execute the attack. During this period Muhammad had a little respite.




Terror Thirty-one




First Raid at Dumat al-Jandal byMuhammad—July, 626CE




In the summer of 626CE Muhammad purportedly received intelligence reports that the Ghatafan tribe, once again, had mobilised troops at Dumat al-Jandal to launch an attack on him. Dumat al-Jandal is an oasis on the frontier between Hijaz and al-Sham, midway between the Red sea and the Persian Gulf.on the borders of Syria. A severe drought during this time caused famine in this area. Without wasting any time, Muhammad immediately made a raid on this band of Ghatafan tribe and captured their herd grazing in the neighbourhood. He led this expedition with an army of one thousand men and reached the confines of Syria. No fighting took place as the B. Ghatafan fled without giving any opposition. The Muslims returned to Medina with the booty. This expedition greatly enhanced the lust for plunder in the hearts of Muhammad’s men. On his way back, Muhammad entered into a truce with Uyanah b. Hisn, the leader of B. Fazarah, a powerful part of Ghatafan, so that Uyanah b. Hisn b. Hudhayfah could pasture his herds in the nearby territory of Taghlaman, controlled by Muhammad as Uyanah’s territory was afflicted with drought. The land at Taghlaman was lush with pasturage due to rain there.



Section Nine




‘Among the forms of mistake, prophecy is the most gratuitous’---George Eliot (1819-1880)[136]




Terror Thirty-two




The Battle of the Trench Led by Muhammad—February, 627CE




After the successful raids for booty, Muslims in Medina felt safe and secure. Their need was largely ameliorated by the swag they acquired through these plunders. Muhammad became militarily strong by the forced evacuation of Banu Qaynuqua and Banu Nadir Jews from their ancestral lands in Medina.[137] However, Muhammad was always cautious, lest the enemy strike without notice. And true to his fear, the enemy did strike him no sooner than he was relaxing with his booty and the new found military might. When the winter season came, the Quraysh prepared for an attack against Muhammad. This was the battle of the Trench or the battle of Ahzab (the confederates).


This battle took place in February, 627 (Shawal, AH 5). The major cause of this battle was the expulsion, or the ethnic cleansing of the B. Nadir Jews from Medina.




After the expulsion of the B. Qaynuqa and the B. Nadir Jews from Medina, the exiled leaders of the Jews, like Salam b. Abi al-Huqayq al-Nadri, Huyayy b. Akhtab al-Nadri, Kinanah b. al-Rabi b. Abi al-Huqayq… etc. went to Mecca and met with the Quraysh leaders and formed a confederation to fight a menacing Muhammad. At first, the Quraysh were skeptical about the Jews as the Jewish religion was quite close to Islam. They asked the Jews about whose religion was better—the paganism or the Islam? The Jews answered that the Quraysh’s religion (i.e., paganism) was better than that of Muhammad’s new brand of monotheism. This pleased the Quraysh, and they accepted unhesitatingly the Jews as their ally. On this, Allah revealed 4:51-55, denouncing the Jews for upholding paganism and He promised hell to the Jews.




Being satisfied with the Jewish leaders, the Quraysh were now ready to strike a mortal blow to Muhammad and his horde of fanatical Jihadists. Having secured the agreement of the Quraysh, the Jewish leaders approached the Ghatafan and a few other tribes around Mecca and convinced them to launch an attack in confederation with the Quraysh. Thus, the Quraysh, under the leadership of Abu Sufyan b. Harb and the Ghatafan, under the leadership of Uyanah b. Hisn b. Hudhayfah (see Terror 31, CH. 8) marched out for Medina. Some biographers list Uyanah as the leader of B. Fazarah tribe, B. Fazarah being a sub-clan of the Ghatafan.[138] The other tribes that joined them were: B. Murrah and Masud b. Rukhaylah from Ashja tribe. The Quraysh themselves brought four thousand soldiers including three hundred horses, and fifteen hundred camels. The entire Meccan force was of ten thousand men. They marched in three separate camps. The general commander was Abu Sufyan b. harb. The flag of the battle was assigned to Uthman ibn Talhah whose father was killed in the battle of Uhud.[139]




Soon this news of a planned attack reached Muhammad. He was quite unprepared for this sudden attack from the Quraysh and its allies. The experience of Uhud was still fresh in the minds of the Muslims. Another battle against the Quraysh was out of the question.[140]




Sensing profound trouble, Muhammad convened a conclave of his trusted lieutenants. In this meeting, Salman, the Persian convert, suggested digging a trench around Medina to protect it from the impending attack of the Meccans. He had been a Christian captive of Mesopotamia, bought by a Jew from the Bani Kalb. Then he was ransomed and converted to Islam. He was familiar with this mode of defence of a city in other countries. This was a completely new strategy that Arabia had never practiced. Muhammad and his followers readily adopted this great strategy of defence. The work consisted of digging a deep trench, probably ten yards (thirty feet) wide and five yards (fifteen feet) deep, three and half mile long[141] all around the city of Medina. For a speedy completion, the work was divided between various clans.




Muhammad now assembled his men to dig this trench and inspired them with the rewards of Paradise. It was the fasting month of Ramadan, and Muhammad hired the digging implements from the Jews of B. Qurayzah.[142] Between one thousand[143] to three thousand[144] Muslims worked from dawn to dusk to complete the dry moat, and they all joined to face the formidable army of the Quraysh and its confederates that numbered ten thousand. Muhammad started cursing the Meccans, inviting Allahs wrath on them as narrated in Sahih Bukhari:




Volume 5, Book 59, Number 415: Narrated Anas:


Allah's Apostle said Al-Qunut for one month after the posture of Bowing, invoking evil upon some 'Arab tribes.


Some hypocrites joined in but they became sloppy and slipped away to be with their families without the permission of Muhammad. Nonetheless, the true believers kept going with dogged determination, halting intermittently just to join their families with permission from their spiritual leader. On this occasion Allah revealed 24:62, praising these true Jihadists and promising them His forgiveness. On the errant hypocrites, Allah revealed 24:63-64, disclosing that He knows about their secret. After working diligently for a few days (some say eight days), the diehard Muslims completed the trench surrounding Medina, ahead of the arrival of the Meccan troop. They were now very satisfied with the freshly dug dry trench, inspired by Salman, the Farsi. Each clan claimed that Salman belonged to their side. On this, Muhammad said, “Salman is one of us, the people of the Household (ahl al-bayt).”[145]




The Muslim historians, Tabari and Ishak[146] narrate the incredible story that while the trench was being dug, Allah caused a white rock to emerge from the bottom of the trench. Muhammad went down into the trench with Salman; struck the rock with his pick axe and a flash of lightning spread out that illuminated the two tracks of Medina’s black mountains!




Muhammad explained this as the sign of Allah for Muslim’s victory. He even claimed that that spark of lightning lit up the Byzanatine and Khusroo’s (the Persian emperor) empire, meaning that he (Muhammad) would be victorious over them. Muhammad’s harangue thus lifted up further, the sprit of the Muslim earth diggers. They were now absolutely confident that Allah had assured them a signal victory. Other miraculous stories about the increase in food supply when the Muslim army’s provision ran out is told in Sahih Bukhari, such as Volume 5, Book 59, Number 428. For brevity and conciseness I refrain from quoting this lengthy Hadith.




But from the very beginning, the hypocrites were skeptical about Muhammad’s claims and they tried to subdue the morale of the ardent Jihadists. On this, Allah’s oracle came down in verse 33:12 revealing the diseased minds of the hypocrites.




The digging of the trench completed, on the eighth of Dzul Kada (March 2, 626 CE), the army of Medina was posted with the trench. The houses outside the town were evacuated and their residents were placed for security, on tops of the double-storied houses nearby the freshly dug trench. During this evacuation stage, the army of Mecca was reported to have advanced at Uhud. Muhammad’s army was three thousand men and was posted across the road leading to Uhud, having the trench in front of them.




The Meccans, at first encamped at Uhud and finding no opposition there rapidly moved up the road to Medina. Soon, they arrived near the freshly dug trench, and was greatly surprised at the defense tactics of Muhammad. They were unable to come closer to the Medina quarters. So, they resorted to archery from a distance.[147]




In the mean time, Huyayy b. Akhtab, the leader of the expelled B. Nadir Jews conferred with Ka’b b. Asad, the B. Qurayzah Jew’s chief, to break the latter’s contract of truce with Muhammad. At first, Ka’b refused to meet Huyayy, but finally relented to Huyayy’s persistent pleading.




Huyayy then informed Ka’b about the mobilization of the Quraysh and the Ghatafan to confront Muhammad once and for all and urged Ka’b to repudiate all his treaty with Muhammad. He requested Ka’b’s co-operation, promising him his unflinching support in case the Ghatafn and the Quraysh retreated without finishing off Muhammad. At first, Ka’b was hesitant to tow the line with Huyayy, but finally gave in when Huayayy vouched that in case of trouble, he (Huyayy) would move forthwith to Ka’b’s fortress, so that, whatever befell K’ab would be his fate too. In this way Ka’b renounced his peace treaty with Muhammad and Huyayy moved in the fortress of B. Qurayzah Jews to stay with them.




When this news reached Muhammad, he sent his trusted Jihadist, Sa’d b. Muadh, along with a few of his elite companions to investigate stealthily about its veracity.




When the team of Sa’d b. Muadh met the B. Qurayzah Jew leader Ka’b b. Asad, he (Ka’b) immediately repudiated their treaty with Muhammad. He demanded that the Muslims return the Jews of Banu Nadir back to their former quarters in Medina. On this, Sa’d ibn Muadh, who was closely allied with the Banu Qurayzah Jews, warned them that something worse than Banu Nadir might befall the Banu Qurayzah in case they persisted on this betrayal of covenant with the Muslims.[148] Nonetheless, even under such a dire threat from Sa’d b. Mudah, Ka’b refused to surrender to his demand.




So, a disappointed Sa’d b. Muadh returned to Muhammad and told him the extremely bad news. Muhammad took it as a treachery on the part of B. Qurayzah, and Allah immediately confirmed this in verse 33:20. However, please note that the B.Qurayzah were under no obligation to honor the treaty if they wanted, as Muhammad, in the past had broken many such treaties. Moreover, the B. Qurayzah Jews never intended to attack Muhammad, they simply negated the pact with Muhammad.




When Muhammad heard what Sa’d had to say, he was perturbed, no doubt, but showed no alarm; instead, he said, “God is greatest! Rejoice, people of the


Muslims!” [149] This was, of course, designed to keep his army in shape and in good spirit. Allah promptly sent down verse 33:10, saying, “The enemy came upon them from above and from beneath…..”. regarding the double danger (from top and bottom) facing the Muslims




Although, outwardly showing no alarm, Muhammad was quite frightful at the prospect of losing the war.  He was in constant anxiety that the trench may be overcome and that the Jews might attack from behind. The people of Medina were greatly disappointed at that turn of the events. Many of his followers begged to be released to look after their properties that they had left behind. They considered Muhammad to be weak and helpless; questioned the divine assistance for him and apprehended that his promises of Khusroo’s and Caesar’s wealth were hollow. Now, they felt afraid to venture outside the confines of their city.[150] Many of them claimed immunity from fighting, using the alibi that their houses were exposed to the enemy as expressed in verse 33:13.




The confederates and the Muslim soldiers stayed in their position for twenty days (or a month) facing each other across the trench without any fighting, except for shooting arrows at each other. On the Quraysh side were Khalid b. Walid and Wahshi, the Abyssinian Negro slave.[151]




Becoming desperate with such a long drawn stalemate, Muhammad made a clever attempt to bribe the Ghatafan to desert the battlefield. Secretly, he sent an emissary to Uyanah b. Hisn, the leader of the Ghatafan (or Fazarah) and tempted him to accept his offer of one-third of the date harvest of Medina on condition that they remove themselves from the battlefield. Uyanah signaled his willingness to accept the deal and bargained the offer to one-half. However, when Muhammad disclosed this deal for the approval of B. Aws and B. Khazraj, they spurned it and offered nothing but sword to the confederates of the Quraysh. Muhammad’s great confidante, Sa’d b. Muadh objected in offering such a generous gift to the Ghatafan. He promised to offer only sword to the Ghatafan, saying, “Messenger of God, we and these people used to be polytheists, associating [other divinities] with God and worshipping idols, and we neither worshipped God nor knew him, and they did not hope to a single date of ours except in hospitality or by buying. Now that God has conferred Islam on us, guided us to it, and strengthened us with your presence, shall we give them our wealth? We have no need for this! By God, we will offer them only the sword, until God judge between us and them.”[152] So, Muhammad reluctantly, dropped this bribery deal.




On the other side, the Quraysh army, despite their vast number, was very frustrated by the strong vigilance of the Muslim army. When this stand-off grew intolerable, a few of the Quraysh, among them, Ikrimah b. Abi Jahl (Abu Jahl was brutally murdered at Badr), commanded the confederates to prepare themselves for an attack. With this instruction, they advanced and when they reached near the freshly dug trench, they were totally taken aback at this innovative approach of defense that was never practiced in Arabia.They then made a general attack through a narrow and weakly guarded part of the trench. Ikrimah cleared the ditch and galloped in front of the enemy. Among the other Quraysh who crossed the trench was Amr b. Abd Wudd. Ibn Sa’d.[153] reports that Amr was ninety years old! Ali rushed forward to confront the intruders. When he saw Amr, Ali called him to join Islam, but Amr readily declined. Then Ali challenged Amr to fight him, on which Amr passionately told Ali that he did not wish to kill his nephew (Ali was the son Amr’s brother, Abu Talib). But Ali expressed his desire to kill Amr, his uncle. On this, an angry Amr jumped out of his horse and attacked Ali.




A duel ensued between Ali and Amr, in which Ali killed Amr. The rest of Amr’s companions panicked and started to disperse. Ali managed to slaughter another polytheist, gravely injured yet another who managed to cross the trench, but later died of his wound at Mecca. Another Quraysh polytheist fell into the ditch while attempting to jump over the trench. He fell inside the deep trench. The marauding Muslim soldiers gathered at the site and pelted stone at him. When this hapless victim shrieked in pain, Ali went down and beheaded him. The  Muslims took the corpse to Muhammad, seeking his permission to sell it. But Muhammad declined and instructed his Jihadists to do whatever they liked with the dead body. Nothing is known what the Jihadists did to the polytheist’s corpse. It is reported that the Negro slave, Wahsi, with his unerring javelin, killed one Jihadist, al-Tufayl b. al-Numan and Dirar ibn al-Khattab (Umar’s brother?) killed another Muslim, Kab ibn Zayd.[154]




The Quraysh did not make any further attempt to cross the trench during the day, but made great preparations at night. Next morning, they launched a general attack with a massive force. But all their attempts were without effect. They could not cross the trench. Sa’d ibn Muadah, the chief of B. Aws was wounded severely in his arm (or shoulder as per Muir[155] by an arrow. He promised to exact his revenge on B. Qurayzah, for the man, who shot him was on friendly terms with the B. Qurayzah. The Quraysh lost three men while the Muslims lost five.




The Muslims could not offer prayer on that day. They were too busy with the war. At night, when the enemy returned to their camp, the Muslims gathered and offered a special prayer for those missed prayers.




We learn from the narratives of Ibn Ishaq and Tabari that there was no wearing of Hijab (veil) by the Arab women during this period. While the battle of Ahzab was raging, Aisha was in the fortress of B. Haritha and the mother of Sa’d b. Muadh was with her. Aisha wore no Hijab when Sa’d b. Muadh passed her by wearing a coat of mail through which Aisha could view the entire forearm of Sa’d b. Muadh.[156]




During this time, Saffiyah bt. Abd al-Muttalib, Muhammad’s aunt was in Fari, the fortress of Hassan b. Thabit, the official poet of Muhammad.[157] She discovered a Jew circling the fortress of Hassan b. Thabit. When Saffiya requested Hassan b. Thabit to go downstairs and kill the suspicious Jew, he declined. So she went downstairs and clubbed the Jew to death herself. She then requested Hassan b. Thabit to strip the Jew naked and to take his arms and coats of mail as booty. Hassan b. Thabit refused to do that, as he was not in need of the spoils.




During this lengthy blockade, Muhammad became desperate, searching for a way out. Just then, a double-agent, Nuaym b. Masud b. Amir from the Ghatafan approached Muhammad to offer his service of sleuthing Muhammad’s enemies. He claimed that he had embraced Islam and was available to offer his assistance as a double agent. Muhammad engaged him to his advantage and told him that ‘war is deception.’ He said to Nuaym, “You are only one man among us. Make them abandon [each other], if you can, so that they leave us; for war is deception.”[158] Here is a Hadith from Sahih Bukhari that confirms Muhammad’s view of war as an act of deception:




Volume 4, Book 52, Number 269: Narrated Jabir bin 'Abdullah:


The Prophet said, "War is deceit."


A similar Hadith is also found in Sunaan Abu Dawud:




Book 14, Number 2631: Narrated Ka'b ibn Malik:


When the Prophet (peace_be_upon_him) intended to go on an expedition, he always pretended to be going somewhere else, and he would say: War is deception.


After Muhammad’s persuasive talk, Nuaym went to the B. Qurayzah and advised them not to trust the confederation of the Quraysh and the Ghatafan. He harangued them that if the confederate won the war they might take the land of the B. Qurayzah as a booty; should Muhammad win, then the confederates would abandon the B. Qurayzah, leaving them to defend themselves against the formidable Muslims.




Then Nuaym advised the B. Qurayzah to secure hostages from the Quraysh and Ghatafan as a security for their pledge of assistance against Muhammad. B. Qurayzah leaders pondered over what Nuyam had said and found that to be very credible.


Meanwhile, after talking to the B. Qurayzah Jews, Nuaym went straight to the Quraysh and the Ghatafan; announced that he had abandoned Islam and Muhammad and told them that the B. Qurayzah Jews had regretted at what they had done and was now in league with Muhammad. Nuaym further added that the B. Qurayzah had offered Muhammad a pledge that whatever hostages they took from the Quraysh and the Ghatafan, they would send them to Muhammad for beheading and Muhammad would be too pleased to execute the hostages. This news unnerved the Meccans as they believed every word of what Nuaym had said. Suspicion now arose in their minds regarding the pledge of the B. Qurayzah, and they decided, as per advice of the double agent Nuaym to refrain from dispatching any hostage that B. Qurayzah might demand from them.




On the eve of the Jewish Sabbath day (that is, Friday evening, Saturday being the Jewish Sabbath), Abu Sufyan sent Ikrimah b. Abi Jahl with a group of men to B. Qurayzah to ask the Jews to come out and to assemble to fight on the next day (i.e., on Saturday). On this, the Jews declined to fight on their Sabbath day, claiming that on previous occasions when they broke that tradition, the Jews were converted into monkeys and boars for fighting on the Sabbath day.[159] Moreover, they demanded hostages from the Quraysh and the Ghatafan as a pre-condition to fight Muhammad.




When this news of demand for hostages was brought to Abu Sufyan and the leaders of Ghatafan, they were simply amazed at the veracity of what Nuaym had already told them. The confederates then decided not to offer a single hostage to B. Qurayzah and this decision was communicated to the B. Qurayzah Jews. Having heard the verdict of the confederates, the B. Qurayzah Jews were now convinced that the Quraysh and the Ghatafan were playing tricks with them. The Jews decided not to join in the fighting, unless hostages are secured from the confederates and forwarded their decision to the Quraysh and the Ghatafan.




The allied forces were now greatly disheartened. Their provisions were running short. Their plan to attack the Muslims from the rear of city with the help of B. Qurayza was now in doubt. Their camels and horses were dying daily in numbers. To add more to their adversity, the weather, too, was unkind to them. The cold, wind and rain became merciless on their unprotected camps. The storm became a hurricane, overturning their cooking pots and sweeping away their tents. They took the fury of weather as an evil omen and started to flee for their lives. With so many troublesome incidents, Abu Sufiyan suddenly decided to break up the camp and retreat. The withdrawal was led by the Quraysh, followed by the Ghatafan and their allies. Abu Sufyan leaped on his camel and led away. Soon, the entire Quraysh army took the road to Mecca by way of Uhud. In the morning not one of them was left in sight. As usual, Muhammad claimed that Gabriel had brought the severe storm and caused the Meccan confederates to flee. Ibn Sa’d writes that when Gabriel metMuhammad, he (Gabriel) said to him: “O! be happy.”[160]. An oracle (33:9) descended from Allah confirming His divine intervention by casting terror in the heart of the infidels through the tempestuous wind and the biting cold.




However, the real reason the Meccans abandoned the siege was different. It was the ensuing of the month of Dzul Qaedah, the first month of the three consecutive months of the Arab tradition of cessation of hostilities—the Meccans had to go back and attend the pilgrims that would soon start arriving at Mecca.[161]




The news of the disunity between the confederates and the B. Qurayzah soon reached the ears of Muhammad, and he sought the assistance of a spy to observe the activities of his enemy, promising him paradise or booty should the spy returned on time. On this enticement, a Hadith from Sahih Bukhari is quoted here:




Volume 9, Book 93, Number 555: Narrated Abu Huraira:


Allah's Apostle said, "Allah guarantees (the person who carries out Jihad in His Cause and nothing compelled him to go out but Jihad in His Cause and the belief in His Word) that He will either admit him into Paradise (Martyrdom) or return him with reward or booty he has earned to his residence from where he went out."


Muhammad had to promise paradise to his spy as none other had volunteered to go to the Quraysh camp and bring back their news. During this period, fear hunger and cold had engulfed the Muslims and they were not in a mood for a fight. In fact, when no one volunteered, Muhammad picked the said spy himself and commanded him to engage in information gathering. The spy went out and saw Allah’s helpers (i.e., angels) punishing the Quraysh and the Ghatafan with lashing wind and bitter cold.




The spy of Muhammad observed the departure of the Abu Sufyan and his confederates and brought the good news to Muhammad. Muhammad was greatly relieved at the departure of his enemy; the Muslim army became joyful and in the morning, broke up their camp and returned to their homes. Muhammad refrained from pursuing the retreating Quraysh army for, he feared that a confrontation with the Quraysh in the open would not be to his advantage. He soon told the Muslims that he had Allah’s message to attack the B. Qurayza, claiming that Gabriel came to him in the appearance of Dihya, the Kalbite. Immediately, Muhammad sent Bilal to announce the new call throughout the town for the new battle.




Once the Battle of the Trench was over Muhammad vowed to be aggressive and offensive, to make attack and not to defend. Here is a Hadith from Sahih Bukhari that clearly indicates Islam is truly a religion of offense and not defense:




Volume 5, Book 59, Number 435: Narrated Sulaiman bin Surd:


On the day of Al-Ahzab (i.e. clans) the Prophet said, (After this battle) we will go to attack them (i.e. the infidels) and they will not come to attack us."


[Please note: This Hadith cannot be found in the sanitized, summarized version of Sahih Al-Bukhari; however you may read this Hadith in the Internet ve



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